2021 Gold Cup Final: how many times have USMNT played against Mexico in a final?
Tata Martino’s Mexico will be aiming to successfully defend the trophy in a repeat of the 2019 final. The two nations have more Gold Cup titles than anyone else.
Mexico and the United States will contest the XVI Gold Cup final in Las Vegas later this evening. Two nations who have more Gold Cup titles than anyone else - Mexico have lifted the trophy eight times and the USA not too far behind with six. Tonight’s contest won’t be the first time they have met in the final - the most recent meeting was in the last edition of the tournament in 2019 when El Tri pipped their rivals to the Cup thanks to Jonathan dos Santos’ fabulous second half winner.
Mexico and USMNT, Gold Cup stalwarts
In total, Mexico and the USMNT have faced each other in the Gold Cup final six times since the competition was renamed and restructured in 1991. Mexico have enjoyed the upper hand over their northern counterparts, having won five of those finals and lost just one.
The first CONCACAF Gold Cup final between Mexico and the USMNT was in 1993. Both emerged unbeaten from their respective groups but there was only one team in the final at the Azteca. Mexico thrashed the defending champions 4-0 in front of a partisan crowd to lift the rebranded Cup for the first time.
Mexico won the next edition in 1996 but two years later, the two nations were back battling it out once again in the final. Once again, El Tri prevailed, although not quite as comfortably - a first-half header from Luis Arturo Hernández, El Matador, was all that separated the two teams on the final whistle as Mexico claimed their third title in front of 91,000 fans in Los Angeles.
⚽️ | 📅 #OnThisDay in 2️⃣0️⃣0️⃣7️⃣— USM/WNT Historian 🇺🇸 (@usmnt_historian) June 24, 2021
Benny Feilhaber scored his second and final #USMNT goal and it was a banger in this 2-1 victory over 🇲🇽 in the Gold Cup Final. After a Landon Donovan corner was partially cleared, Feilhaber caught the ball on the volley. https://t.co/b74BdL8L1A pic.twitter.com/V6vMYAlyQa
It would be almost a decade before Mexico and the USMNT would meet to contest the Gold Cup again. The ninth edition of the tournament was the first since 1993 not to feature a guest team. Both entered as favourites, with Hugo Sánchez’s Mexico, 20th in the FIFA rankings, the bookies’ choice - but only just. Andrés Guardado put Mexico in front just before half-time, beating Tim Howard with a back-post finish after a closely-fought first 45 minutes. But the US were back level on the hour with Landon Donovan coolly slotting home from the penalty spot. The winning strike was worthy of the Cup all on its own - Benny Feilhaber received a high ball on the edge of the area and lashed a fierce volley inside the top corner, without any doubt one of the best goals seen in the competition which handed the US their fourth title.
Mexico only had to wait two years to get their revenge. They showed little mercy in the 2009 final, firing five past their opponents without reply - the same number of goals they had scored in the entire group stage. Torrado, Gio dos Santos, Carlos Vela, Castro and Guille Franco hitting the target during a relentless second half onslaught.
We're counting down our Top 10 clips of 2019!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 24, 2019
No. 8️⃣: Jonathan Dos Santos and Mexico's beautiful winner against the U.S. in the Gold Cup final. 🇲🇽🔥 pic.twitter.com/fqpOTK4Ywc
Six goals in Pasadena
The two nations were back in the final again in the following edition in 2011 which ended in a six-goal thriller at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Michael Bradley gave the US an early lead from a corner and Donovan was clean through to double their advantage soon after. Mexico pulled one back immediately on the break and were back level just after the half hour when Guardado bundled in a loose ball inside the box, Chicharito taking care not to make contact as the ball bobbed over the line. Barrera put Mexico in front four minutes into the second half then Gio dos Santos pulled out a sublime, chipped finish to make it 2-4 - another of the tournament’s most memorable goals as El Tri clinched their sixth title.
Gio’s younger brother Jonathan hit the winner in the most recent final between these two Gold Cup, another wonderful strike to savour - deft backheel from Raúl Jiménez and Dos Santos to apply the finish, in off the bar. Mexico lifted their eighth Gold Cup in their sixth final against the United States.
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