The CONCACAF Gold Cup 2009 did not come across as one of the most awaited competitions of this summer, yet it ended in stunning fashion. If the contested final between USA and Mexico was expected, the scoreline was not.
On the day that Liverpool and Manchester United recorded huge preseason wins, the CONCACAF final conspired to bring the most amazing result.
Rapid-fire goals in the second half from captain Torrado, Gio dos Santos, Vela emphasized the underlying knowledge that although Team USA made the Gold Cup final, players from this feeder squad (bar Stuart Holden) will not be in the final Team USA World Cup roster.
Jose Antonio Castro and Guillermo Franco merely added further gloss to a comprehensive victory over the Americans. It snapped Team USA's 58-match unbeaten run in CONCACAF competitions, and similarly broke a 10-year winning spell against the Mexicans.
1. Speed and Movement of the Mexican attack
Right from the first whistle, the Mexican's speedy attack had the American defence backpedalling.
The dribbling skills and pace of Gio dos Santos proved too hot for the likes of Pearce and Heaps. Every time Gio had the ball, he penetrated and looked capable of creating something magical.
The clever movement of the Mexican forward line also made it very difficult for the American defenders to pick them up. Utilising their speed and movement, Mexico frequently got behind the US defence and was a constant danger to the US backline.
2. Second Half Introduction of Carlos Vela
Having played in the U-17 World Cup winning side with Gio dos Santos, two of the La Generacion de Oro displayed their amazing telepathic understanding and tore Team USA apart. Vela had two assists and one goal, producing a performance only bettered by Gio.
If the US dealt manfully with the skills of Gio in the first half, they had no answer when faced with twin terrors on both flanks in the second half.
3. The Inexperience and Naivety of Team USA
The enthusiasm and determination that was so strongly in display against Panama and Honduras worked against the Americans in this match. Team USA attacked relentlessly after going a goal down against Panama and was duly rewarded.
Against Mexico, that proved detrimental as the Mexicans exploited all the vacant space left behind as the Americans poured forward. The youth, inexperience and naivety of US were laid bare and they could not recover from a three-goal salvo.
Bob Bradley's immediate tactical change bringing on Santino Quaranta and Kenny Cooper further isolated the defence from midfield, allowing Mexico to use the space in between to great effect.
The first goal gave Mexico the chance to sit on their lead, make Team USA come forward and look to counter attack. Team USA, through its inexperience and naivety fell into that trap and paid the price for it.
Yet, the experiment of finding new US talent worked as Stu Holden, Kyle Beckerman and Chad Marshall were outstanding throughout. Perhaps a true measure of US Soccer standing in world soccer will come at the Azteca on August 12th.
This article is also featured on The Flat Back Four, an independent site where the author expresses his views and opinions on the Beautiful Game.