By Paul D. Bowker | July 07, 2019, 11:15 p.m. (ET)
Michael Bradley competes at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final on July 7, 2019 in Chicago.

 

The Concacaf Gold Cup championship came down to just one goal between men’s soccer rivals Mexico and the U.S.

Jonathan dos Santos delivered the goal in the 73rd minute for Mexico Sunday night in front of a raucous crowd at Soldier Field in Chicago.

That was all Mexico needed to secure the 1-0 title game win, giving the team a record eighth Gold Cup title and its first since 2015. Dos Santos had an open shot and drilled the ball just underneath the crossbar past U.S. goalie Zack Steffen.

The U.S. had given up just one goal while scoring 15 in five tournament games coming into the championship game.

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The U.S. men were seeking its second straight Gold Cup title and its seventh overall. Instead, they lost a Gold Cup championship game at Soldier Field for the first time. The stadium was the venue for championship victories by the U.S. in 2013 against Panama and 2007 against Mexico.

The loss also snapped a 10-game win streak for the U.S. in Gold Cup play.

The first half ended in a scoreless tie although both teams had good scoring chances, including one by U.S. forward Jozy Altidore, a 2008 Olympian. His shot went just wide of the right post. Christian Pulisic, the 20-year-old attacking midfielder, was also a factor throughout the night.

The final whistle blew as the U.S. was attempting to hit the ball back into Mexico territory in the third minute of stoppage time.

Once it blew, Mexico players and coaches jumped into a joyous pile of bodies to celebrate just their second win in six Gold Cup final matches against the U.S.

The Gold Cup, which determines the champion of North America, Central America and the Caribbean, marked the first official competitive event for the U.S. team since missing on the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.