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Mexico captures Gold Cup

PASADENA, Calif. – Pablo Barrera scored two goals, and Mexico rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the United States, 4-2, in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.

Andres Guardado and Giovani Dos Santos also scored for Mexico, which has won two consecutive Gold Cup titles and six overall.

The victory puts El Tri in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, a preview of the 2014 World Cup.

Mexico’s Javier Hernandez, who led this year’s Gold Cup with seven goals, was the tournament’s most valuable player.

Hernandez scored 20 goals for Manchester United during England’s recently completed Premier League season.

Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan scored to help the United States build a 2-0 lead.

Donovan became the Gold Cup’s all-time leading scorer with 13 goals.

Barrera put Mexico ahead to stay in the 50th minute, slipping a 10-yard shot underneath the right hand of diving goalkeeper Tim Howard and inside the left post.

The United States got off to a fast start but Mexico got back in the game with two goals during an impressive seven-minute stretch.

Barrera scored his first goal on a 17-yard shot inside the right post in the 29th minute, snapping Howard’s Gold Cup shutout streak at 351 minutes.

Then in the 36th minute, Dos Santos’ pass from the right side of the penalty area deflected off defender Eric Lichaj and toward Howard.

Guardado pounced on the ball and poked it in from 5 yards, tying it at 2.

Guardado played on a slightly sprained left ankle. He was injured during Mexico’s 2-0 semifinal victory over Honduras on Wednesday.

Dos Santos ended the scoring in the 76th minute with a beautiful goal. With Howard coming off his line to cut down the angle, Dos Santos backtracked left.

Howard went to the ground, trying to swipe the ball away from Dos Santos – but failing.

Dos Santos chipped a left-footed shot toward the far left corner, where Lichaj was defending the post area.

The 5-foot-11 Lichaj jumped, but Dos Santos’ perfectly-placed shot landed in the back of the net.

“A great piece of skill,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said.

The announced attendance of 93,420 was the largest for a Gold Cup game in the United States, but the crowd was decidedly in Mexico’s corner.

“Obviously ... the support that Mexico has on the night like tonight makes it a home game for them,” said Bradley, choosing his words carefully. “It’s part of something we have to deal with on the night.”

The Americans responded with an early burst. Bradley put the U.S. ahead in the eighth minute with a 10-yard header off Freddy Adu’s corner kick.

Donovan’s 11-yard shot inside the left post made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute.

Clint Dempsey’s pass between two defenders freed Donovan for a breakaway.

Defender Steve Cherundolo, who had played every minute of the Gold Cup for the United States, sprained his left ankle and left in the 11th minute and was replaced by Jonathan Bornstein, who plays for UANL in Mexico’s Primera Division.

“Losing Stevie hurts in that moment,” Bradley said.

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