- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. — In just a few short minutes, Mexico turned the tables on the United States, then ran away with its second straight Gold Cup win.

This one means more than the title they took in 2009 against a second-team USA. Now El Tri gets to play in the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil a year before the World Cup.

Pablo Barrera scored twice for Mexico, which rallied to beat the United States 4-2 on Saturday night while most of the fans at the Rose Bowl roared approval.

“They’re as dynamic as any Mexican team I’ve played against,” said Landon Donovan, who has played for the United States since 2000. “They’ve got a few guys who can change the game in a heartbeat.”

That’s almost exactly what happened over the course of seven minutes in the first half.

U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard reacts after the U.S. lost the CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer final game against Mexico 4-2. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard reacts after the U.S. lost the CONCACAF Gold ... more >

Barrera scored his first goal on a 17-yard shot inside the right post in the 29th minute, snapping US goalkeeper Tim Howard’s Gold Cup shutout streak at 351 minutes.

“That’s a tough one,” United States coach Bob Bradley of the goal. “That really changed the momentum before the half.”

Then in the 36th minute, Dos Santos’s pass from the right side of the penalty area deflected off defender Eric Lichaj and toward Howard. Guardado pounced on the ball and poked it in from five yards, tying it at 2.

“They’ve got a very good mix of attacking talent,” Bradley said. “They come at you. They play quickly from the flanks. There’s a lot to deal with.”

Andres Guardado and Giovani Dos Santos also scored for Mexico, which has won two consecutive Gold Cuptitles and six overall.

Mexico’s Javier Hernandez, who led this year’s Gold Cup with seven goals, was the tournament’s most valuable player. Chicharito, as Hernandez’s jersey reads, scored 20 goals for Manchester United during England’s recently completed Premier League season.

“Things were difficult but the coach told us to fight every single play,” Hernandez said of head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre. “Our attitude is in our hands.”

Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan scored to help the United States build a 2-0 lead. Donovan became theGold Cup’s leading scorer with 13 goals.

Barrera put Mexico ahead to stay in the 50th minute, slipping a 10-yard shot underneath the right hand of diving goalkeeper Howard and inside the left post.

And the crowd, announced at 93,420, just got louder.

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