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United States loses in CONCACAF Cup; Mexico headed to Confederations Cup

PASADENA, Calif. — Paul Aguilar scored Mexico's second goal of extra time on a stunning volley in the 118th minute, and Mexico earned a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup with a 3-2 victory over the United States on Saturday night.

Aguilar rocketed his shot past U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan after Raul Jimenez passed the ball over his head and into the penalty area, putting a thrilling finish on the latest chapter of this rivalry at the sold-out Rose Bowl.

Oribe Peralta scored a tiebreaking goal in the sixth minute of extra time for Mexico. Bobby Wood evened it in the 18th minute of extra time for the Americans, who lost to Mexico for the first time in seven games under coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Javier Hernandez scored an early goal as Mexico beat the U.S. squad for the first time since the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

Cheered by a huge crowd of supporters, El Tri won the one-game playoff between the past two Gold Cup winners to earn CONCACAF's berth in the eight-team Confederations Cup tournament in Russia, a prelude to the 2018 World Cup.

Geoff Cameron scored in the 15th minute for the Americans.

Saturday was a double downer for the United States: A few hours earlier, the under-23 team lost 2-0 to Honduras, putting the American men in danger of failing to qualify for its second straight Olympics.

A crowd of 93,723 created a crackling atmosphere under the lights at the 93-year-old stadium. It was the second-largest attendance to watch the U.S. team at home, barely surpassed by the 1994 Rose Bowl turnout for a World Cup game against Romania.

Both teams appeared to be exhausted heading into extra time on a hot night in Southern California, but they were just getting started.

Peralta slipped into the middle and banged a loose ball between Cameron's legs early in extra time, but the U.S., backed up by Mexico for much of the night, struck back with surprising precision. Substitute DeAndre Yedlin dribbled easily to the top of the penalty area and slid a pass to a crossing Wood, who buried an 8-yard shot with his right foot.

Wood is building a remarkable history of dramatic late goals after winning friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands in June.

But after Jimenez chipped the ball back against the run of play, Aguilar put a vicious volley past Brad Guzan and then celebrated by throwing himself into the signage boards lining the field.

Mexico's vociferous Southern California fan base turned out impressively in Pasadena, filling the Rose Bowl's parking lots and stands with tricolor flags and raucous cheers on an unseasonably hot day. Mexico had a sizable fan advantage in the crowd, yet it was significantly more bipartisan than in the teams' last meeting at the venerable stadium four years ago.

Mexico beat the U.S. 4-2 in the 2011 Gold Cup final that day, a loss that led to coach Bob Bradley's departure and Klinsmann's arrival.

Landon Donovan was among the U.S. observers who considered this game to be a referendum on Klinsmann's four-year tenure. The Americans endured an unsettling summer with its semifinal loss to Jamaica in the Gold Cup and two friendly losses, and Mexico controlled play before getting the late result.

Mexico started with an impressive pace, and Peralta capitalized with a run through the U.S. back line to feed Hernandez for a low shot in the 10th minute. The goal was Chicharito's 42nd for Mexico, the second-most in team history, yet his first against the U.S.

The Americans answered just five minutes later. Cameron burst between Peralta and captain Rafael Marquez to head home Michael Bradley's free kick for the defender's second international goal.

Both teams slowed down late in the warm conditions, and Mexico steadily controlled possession. The U.S. got a bit of luck late as well: Defender Matt Besler appeared to get away with an uncalled handball in the box in the waning minutes.

The U.S. and Mexico played overtime for just the second time in the rivalry's 65-game history. Mexico won 1-0 in a Confederations Cup semifinal at Azteca Stadium in 1999.

Interim manager Ricardo Ferretti had a triumphant finish to his brief stint as the interim manager for Mexico, which fired Miguel Herrera in late July after an altercation with a reporter following the Gold Cup victory. Earlier Saturday, the Mexican Football Federation confirmed that Colombia's Juan Carlos Osorio has been hired as its new coach.

United States loses in CONCACAF Cup; Mexico headed to Confederations Cup 10/11/15 [Last modified: Sunday, October 11, 2015 12:45am]
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