The United States’ record six-game winning streak ended Sunday in a 1-0 loss to Mexico, with Luis Hernandez scoring on a header in the first half of the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship game.
The loss before a lively, heavily pro-Mexico crowd of 91,255 at the Los Angeles Coliseum also stopped a record-tying nine-game unbeaten streak by the Americans.
The U.S. team reached the championship game by beating Brazil for the first time ever, a 1-0 victory in the semifinal.
Mexico, which played the Americans to ties in two World Cup qualifying matches last year, won the Gold Cup for the third time. The Mexicans had humbled the U.S. team 4-0 in the Gold Cup final in Mexico City in 1993.
With some three-fourths of the fans in the sellout crowd cheering the Mexicans on, their inspired defenders didn’t allow the Americans many scoring chances.
Preki Radosavljevic, who came off the bench in the second half to score the deciding goals in the United States’ a 2-1 victory over Costa Rica in the second round and the upset of Brazil in the semifinals, missed a chance to do it again. Shortly after entering the game after halftime, Radosavljevic had an open shot from 15 feet after a scramble in front of Mexico’s goal, but he missed by inches outside the right post.
The first half was a story of two headers: Hernandez made one and Eddie Pope of the U.S. barely missed.
Hernandez headed in a cross by Salvador Carmona in the 43rd minute. Carmona’s pass from near the goal line to the right of the net curled left and away from goalkeeper Kasey Keller, and Hernandez struck the ball solidly to beat Keller to the goalkeeper’s right.
In the match for third place, Romario, frustrated in the shutout loss to the United States in the semifinal, broke a scoreless tie in the 77th minute and Brazil beat Jamaica 1-0.
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