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Gold Cup Finals: Fabulous Five

 Mexico (pictured) celebrates after winning their last CONCACAF Gold Cup title in 2011. (Photo: Mexsport)

PHILADELPHIA -- On Sunday, Mexico aims for a record-extending seventh CONCACAF Gold Cup crown, while Jamaica will try to make history with its first championship.

Regardless which team wins, the game could become a classic if a great goal is scored or the game is decided in dramatic fashion.

Of the past dozen Gold Cup finals, CONCACAF.com takes a look at five of the most memorable ones in year order:

July 9, 1991 (Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, California, USA)
United States 0, Honduras 0 (4-3 pens)

A pair of undefeated teams clashed in the very first final before 39,873 spectators. After playing after 120 minutes of scoreless soccer, U.S. goalkeeper Tony Meola made three saves in the penalty-kick shootout. In the eighth round, Fernando Clavijo converted what proved to be the game-winner, firing it past goalkeeper Wilmer Cruz Paredes. Juan Carlos Espinoza needed to net in order to keep Honduras alive, but he lofted his attempt high over the bar and the Americans had secured their first major tournament victory.

July 25, 1993 (Mexico City, Mexico – Estadio Azteca)
Mexico 4, United States 0

Though there was little drama in the first-ever championship game encounter between these two CONCACAF powers, it stood out for the fact that the Mexicans earned the first of their record six titles, also gaining a measure of sporting revenge for a 2-0 semifinal loss to the Americans two years earlier. A Gold Cup record crowd of 130,800 witnessed El Tri grab a 2-0 halftime lead behind a tally by Ignacio Ambriz (11’) and an own-goal by Desmond Armstrong (30’). The host sealed the game in the second half as Luis Roberto Alves (70’) and Guillermo Cantu (79’) also netted. Jorge Campos recorded the shutout.

February 27, 2000 (Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, California, USA)
Canada 2, Colombia 0

Canada became the only country other than the U.S. and Mexico to take a victory lap with the Gold Cup trophy in tow. Jason de Vos scored in first-half stoppage time and Carlo Corazzin converted a 67th minute penalty kick, his tournament-best fourth goal. Goalkeeper Craig Forrest, who was named the competition’s MVP, recorded the shutout. 

June 24, 2007 (Soldier Field – Chicago, Illinois, USA)
United States 2, Mexico 1

The Americans booked a spot in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and extended their unbeaten streak on home soil over Mexico to nine games (8W-1D-0L), dating back to 1999. Andres Guardado (18’) drew first blood for the Mexicans, who controlled the first half in front of 60,000 fans. The host stormed back in the second half. Landon Donovan (62’) converted a penalty kick to level at 1-1, a goal that tied him with Eric Wynalda for the all-time U.S. scoring lead at 34 goals. In only his eighth appearance, 22-year-old midfielder Benny Feilhaber (73’) scored his second international goal, a 22-yard volley to snap the stalemate.

June 25, 2011 (Rose Bowl -- Pasadena, California, USA)
United States 2, Mexico 4

The old adage says that a 2-0 advantage is the most dangerous lead in football and Mexico proved it in front of 93,420 spectators. Michael Bradley (8’) and Landon Donovan (23’) had given the Americans the lead, but the Tricolor roared in response. By halftime, it had equalized behind Pablo Barrera (29’) and Andres Guardado (36’), before Barrera (50’) struck again for a 3-2 advantage. Giovani dos Santos (76’) completed the scoreline with a fabulous chip shot from the right corner of the penalty area over goalkeeper Tim Howard, arguably the greatest goal in Gold Cup history.

 
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