US SoccerUS Soccer
  • DateTuesday, April 30, 2013
  • Kickoff12:00 PM
  • Attendance0

Revenge at the Rose Bowl

Site of Saturday’s CONCACAF Cup, The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Califrnia, has been host to some of American soccer’s biggest triumphs.

It held the U.S. MNT’s first World Cup victory in 44 years – an unforgettable 2-1 win against Colombia in 1994, the WNT’s 1999 World Cup Final win against China and the men’s repatriation of the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup thanks to a 2-0 win in the final against Costa Rica.

While it’s seen great moments, it also played host to a match most U.S. fans would rather forget. Nine years on from the 2002 win against Costa Rica, the MNT returned to Pasadena to play for the same Gold Cup trophy against heated rivals Mexico.

While the game was in the United States, the vast majority of the 93,420 in attendance were behind El Tri. Despite the disadvantage in support, the U.S. ran out to a dream start as Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan scored to give the team a 2-0 lead inside the first 23 minutes.

Micheal Bradley celebrates with Landon Donovan after the pair had put the MNT up 2-0 in the first half of the 2011 Gold Cup final. 

“We started that game off really well – you couldn’t ask for a better start up 2-0,” remembered MNT midfielder Alejandro Bedoya.

Just as the MNT made it look easy to go up two goals early on, Mexico made coming back to equalize look just as simple as Pablo Barrera and Andres Guardado pulled their side level by the 36thgminute. Locked 2-2 at the break, Mexico fed off the crowd as Barrera put El Tri ahead 3-2 in the 50th minute before Giovanni dos Santos’ 76th minute chip confirmed the result for Mexico.

“We just bottled it,” continued Bedoya. “If we could have that start again, I would take it in a heartbeat. It’s just about finishing the game off.”

No stranger to big matches, MNT captain Michael Bradley said even though four years have passed since the match, the game and El Tri’s celebration afterwards still sticks in his memory.

“Any time you lose a final, you don’t forget that quickly,” Bradley told “I think while it was a great game that day – both teams went at it – in the end, they were able to make a few more plays than we did and when you have to watch your big rival lift a trophy, that stays with you.”

“That was tough,” agreed Bedoya. “It was tough to just be a player and having to wait on the field at The Rose Bowl, standing there and seeing them walking across that stage, celebrating on our home soil… it left us all with a bitter taste in our mouths.”

Alejandro Bedoya challenges Gerardo Torrado in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

While the memory of 2011 still stings, with a ticket to Russia on the line, Bedoya said he’ll use the memory as motivation for Saturday’s CONCACAF Cup.

And with the way the U.S. fan base has grown with groups like the American Outlaws leading the charge, Bedoya expects a different atmosphere Saturday.

“I remember there were a lot of Mexican fans in attendance,” Bedoya said. “In four years, I think a lot has changed in terms of soccer in this country. I don’t think we’ll be seeing those same numbers at The Rose Bowl this year. I think our fans will come out in full support and that’s all we can hope for. The rest just comes down to us playing and doing whatever it takes to win, going all out and knowing that this result means a lot to so many people everywhere.”

The game certainly means a lot to Bradley. In the buildup to the match last week, the U.S. captain chose a message about the Mexico match to debut the public setting on his previously private Instagram account.

With CONCACAF announcing tickets for the match sold out on Monday, fans have certainly recognized the magnitude of the occasion and according to Bradley, outside of the World Cup, there are few international matches that will compare to Saturday’s game.

“Games against Mexico don’t come around every day,” he said of the post. “Games against Mexico that have so much on the line don’t either. You can play friendlies, you can play games where nothing matters, but in a game like this, with the way everything has been built up, it means everything. The atmosphere is going to be amazing. It’s two good teams who want to win, who want to go at each other and I think it’s set up to be a great night.”

Master Over Mexico

As the U.S. Men’s National Team inches towards Saturday’s all-important CONCACAF Cup playoff with Mexico, MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann heads into the match having proved to be a difficult nemesis for El Tri.

Whether as a player, coach of the German National Team or his current tenure with the USA, Klinsmann has never lost to Mexico, going 5-0-5 all-time.






German International

1-1 D



German International

0-0 D



German International

2-1 W (goal)

World Cup


German Coach

4-3 W

Confederations Cup



1-1 D




1-0 W




0-0 D

World Cup Qualifying



2-0 W

World Cup Qualifying



2-2 D




2-0 W


As U.S. head coach, Klinsmann’s 3-0-3 record against El Tri is the longest unbeaten run any MNT manager has earned against Mexico, having arrived at that record by getting results at home and on the road.

In 2012, Klinsmann became the first U.S. head coach to earn a victory at the vaunted Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Less than a year later, he joined Steve Sampson as the only U.S. managers to earn a World Cup Qualifying point on Mexican soil, as the MNT played to a 0-0 draw at the Azteca on March 26, 2013. Following that result in Mexico City, the team embarked on a record 12-match winning streak which extended through the MNT’s fifth CONCACAF Gold Cup title that July. That following September, Klinsmann continued the MNT’s “Dos a Cero” tradition against Mexico in Columbus as the U.S. qualified for its seventh straight FIFA World Cup.

Once there, the U.S. team’s 2-1 victory against Ghana to open last summer’s FIFA World Cup finally avenged the side’s back-to-back knockouts from the previous two World Cup tournaments. Combined with a 2-2 draw against Portugal in the following match, Klinsmann helped guide the U.S. to the tournament’s knockout stage, marking the first time the MNT has advanced from World Cup group play in back-to-back tournaments.

The MNT has achieved other historic results against traditional soccer powers since Klinsmann’s tenure as U.S. manager began in 2011. Over the course of his four years in charge of the MNT, the U.S. has defeated Germany (twice), while also earning its first-ever wins against four-time World Cup champion Italy and then sixth-ranked Netherlands, with three of those four wins coming on the road.

In fact, Klinsmann has the record for most wins by a U.S. coach in Europe with five, adding victories against Slovenia in 2011 and Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2013 to his list of accomplishments as U.S. manager.

With a .653 winning percentage, Klinsmann ranks second all-time among U.S. head coaches to only Bruce Arena, but the difference is marginal, as the former U.S. boss’s all-time mark stands at .658. Now 75 matches into his tenure as MNT head coach, Klinsmann’s percentage sits higher than that of Arena’s at the same point in his tenure (.620).

#RoadToRio Part 2- One Game at a Time

The journey continues for the U-23s.... After defeating Cuba and Canada in its first two matches of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and clinching a spot in the all-important semifinal match, the U-23 #USMNT heads to Denver for #USAvPAN, looking to secure the top spot in Group A.

Josh Wolff and the Spark that Set the Dos a Cero Fire

When the schedule for the Final Round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup came around, the U.S. Soccer Federation had a different idea.

Drawn to play rivals Mexico first, and in February no less, the U.S. Soccer Federation decided to try and maximize home-field by taking advantage of the new phenomenon in the American game – the soccer specific stadium.

Columbus Crew Stadium (now MAPFRE Stadium) was the only one at the time, but with its smaller capacity and location in the heart of the Midwest, the venue proved a perfect spot for the U.S. to have its own unique home atmosphere in response to the heat, altitude and intensity that 100,000 fans at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City could provide. 

“It was a tremendous atmosphere,” remembered U.S. forward Josh Wolff. “It was brutally cold. We had a fantastic crowd and there was a lot to play for. Obviously it’s a qualifier, but it’s even bigger when you’re playing against Mexico. It couldn’t have been any nicer – a chilly night that the Mexican players probably didn’t enjoy, but for us, it was probably a bit of gamesmanship. I think we were excited about the idea of playing in front of our fans on a nice cold night where we could take advantage of it.”

Wolff didn’t start the match that night in late February 2001. When Bruce Arena selected him for the game-day 18, if he was to be used at all, the idea was more likely as a late-game sub.

After 15 minutes, things changed.

With Brian McBride’s right eye looking like he received a haymaker from Mike Tyson more than the clash of heads he took going up for a 50/50 ball, Wolff was called upon as his replacement and got his taste of the chippiness in the match when he was shown a yellow card for a foul on Rafael Carmona in the 40th minute.

He’d been joined on the field just before halftime by an old familiar face in Clint Mathis. Wolff’s former college teammate at the University of South Carolina was tapped to enter the game for Claudio Reyna, who pulled up with a groin injury after stepping to make a seemingly routine pass.

Having burned two subs to replace two of the side’s key players, Wolff and Mathis were certainly the unlikeliest of heroes for the second half, but they proved the odds wrong.

Just after the break, the South Carolina boys, who both hailed from neighboring Georgia, connected on what has become one of the more memorable goals in U.S. World Cup Qualifying history.

“The ball fell to Clint and Mexico was playing a pretty high line,” Wolff recalled. “Obviously I’d played with Clint for a number of years and we had a pretty good understanding of one another. It was just me taking a chance to run the line really well there.”

Mexico’s back line was so high that they were all pinching into the U.S. half of the field when Mathis quickly hit the ball into space for Wolff, who was a step inside the USA half of the midfield stripe.

“Clint hits a great ball over the top,” Wolff continued. “It’s a bit of a foot race with Jorge [Campos] and it was just one of those balls where it’s a 50/50 and I was able to come out with the other side of him. At that point, you just kind of roll it in the open goal and get on with the celebration. The goal was a scramble in the end, but it was a good way to start that game for me and helped fuel us the rest of the match.”

Goal Scoring Form: Altidore, Williams and Wondo on Target for Their Clubs Ahead of Mexico Clash

Three players called into this week’s U.S. MNT camp have arrived with goals to their name after weekend play with their respective club teams.

Reading FC midfielder Danny Williams had the quickest output, heading home a cross from teammate Hal Robson-Kanu 15 seconds into his side’s 2-0 victory against Middlesbrough. The goal was the third fastest in Reading’s 144 year history and Williams’ second of the English Championship campaign where Reading currently sit third (5-2-3; 18 points).

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore tallied what would be the Reds winning goal in a 3-1 home victory against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field.

With Sebastian Giovinco opening the scoring in the 28th minute, Altidore increased the lead in the 63rd when he beat Union defender Ray Gaddis to a cross from Marky Delgado, making for an easy finish past Andre Blake. The strike was Altidore’s 12th of the season for Toronto FC and second in as many matches.

Philadelphia’s Steven Vitoria pulled one back three minutes later, but the Union’s Richard Marquez netted an own goal in second half stoppage time to give Toronto a 3-1 win.

Finally, Chris Wondolowski continued his strong league goal scoring form as the San Jose Earthquakes earned a 1-1 draw away to Vancouver Whitecaps FC Saturday night at BC Place.

Trailing 1-0 after the Whitecaps Cristian Techera tallied in the 39th minute, San Jose found the equalizer in the 62nd minute. Earthquakes midfielder Cordell Cato fired a whipping shot that Whitecaps ‘keeper David Ousted spilled, only to see Wondolowski opportunistically put home the rebound to give San Jose an important road point.

The goal was Wondolowski’s 16th of the season and seventh in his last nine matches for San Jose. It also pushed the two-time MLS Golden Boot winner past former U.S. international and current NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis and into fifth all-time on the MLS goal scoring list with 109 career tallies.