Dos Santos seals Mexican title with "Golazo"
By Ivan Orozco

 

PASADENA, California - He threatened to walk away.

Giovani dos Santos was upset enough to decline - at first -- an invitation to join the Mexican national team when selected for the World Cup in South Africa.

He didn't want to go, at least not after his younger brother Jonathan was left of the squad. Giovani and members of his family heavily criticized former Mexico coach Javier Aguirre for leaving behind the younger Dos Santos.

Cooler heads prevailed. Dos Santos went to the World Cup and since than has become an integral part of Mexico's versatile attack. He has become an emblematic of the quickness that current coach Jose Manuel de la Torre's squad portrays on the field.

And Dos Santos again displayed that in the Gold Cup. His speed, versatility, touch on the ball and shooting ability have entertained fans and have frozen defenders on the field.

But perhaps rarely better than his display Saturday night for the clinching goal of Mexico's 4-2 come-from-behind win against the United States in the Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl.

Dos Santos sent an arcing ball over United States defender Eric Lichaj into the net in the 76th minute.

It was not an ordinary goal. With United States goalkeeper Tim Howard raced off his line, the Tottenham midfielder lobbed an looping ball into the top-right corner of an empty net. Lichaj lept at the back post but could not jump reach the precise shot.

Dos Santos almost single handedly created the scoring play. He dribbled into the penalty box while Howard dived at his feet trying to slap the ball away. Dos Santos turned and spun to maintain control before placing the ball in the net.
All it took was a tap of the ball.

"It was a pretty goal," Giovani said. "I just poked at it and it came out very nicely. It was a reward for the bad start to the match. We deserved the win."

Mexico defender Rafael Marquez was impressed enough with Dos Santos' goal that he didn't hesitate to speak about it.
"It was a great goal," Marquez gushed. "We'll forgive him for all the ones he's missed."

Dos Santos' goal was the insurance for Mexico after it fell behind 2-0 in the 23rd minute with goals from Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan.

Pablo Barrera scored twice and Andres Guardado also added a goal to lift Mexico to its sixth Gold Cup title and second straight.

Dos Santos was named man of the match. The 22-year-old midfielder also helped create Guardado's goal, sending a diagonal shot across the penalty area. Lichaj lunged to block it and the rebound came to Guardado, who reacted to the loose ball inside the six and drove it off Howard before it rolled into the net.

Dos Santos finished the Gold Cup with three goals, tied with eight other players for third among the leading scorers. His teammate Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez led all scorers with seven and was named the tournament's MVP.

The Gold Cup is complete but Dos Santos has another assignment, The Copa America in Argentina next month where he could join his brother on field with both in a Mexico uniform for the first time.

"We must enjoy this win first," Dos Santos said. "Then we will see about what it is ahead. The team needs to do things right to be where we want to be."

Dos Santos probably wouldn't want to be elsewhere at this point in his career.

"Things are fine right now," he said. "We'll take some nice memories from this tournament."

Including his goal against the United States?

"Yes, why not?" Dos Santos said.