Brian McBride scored for the U.S. in its 2000 U.S. Cup win over Mexico. (Andy Mead/YCJ)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Mexico might not have put out the best of lineups in the 2000 U.S. Cup final, but the U.S. national team certainly wasn’t complaining.
Buoyed by goals from Brian McBride, Frankie Hejduk and Ante Razov, the U.S. recorded a 3-0 victory over the Mexicans before a crowd of 45,008 at Giants Stadium June 11, 2000.
No one realized it at the time, but the win began the U.S.’s 11-game home unbeaten streak against Eli Tri (9-0-2) that ended in a 5-0 loss at the very same stadium on Sunday, July 26, 2009).
Mexico national coach Manuel Lapuente was a no-show. Instead, former Mexican star and then UNAM Pumas coach Hugo Sanchez directed the fortunes — or should it be misfortunes of a team that included eight starters from Pumas.
“I give the yellow card to the Mexican federation for not planning the national team’s schedule more adequately,” Sanchez said. “I hope for future reference that this does not repeat itself. I am proud to be a Mexican and am happy to be the interim coach, but I am the first to criticize the Mexican soccer federation.”
U.S. coach Bruce Arena said a win was a win and a title was a title.
“We invited a top 10 country in the world to this tournament,” he said.
Arena said that the Mexicans bringing their top players “is their job. I’ve played Mexico without my full team a number of times and no one offered condolences to me.”
McBride gave the Americans all the scoring they needed in the 33rd minute, as he took a cross from Earnie Stewart and scored from 10 yards. The Mexicans kept it interested until Christian Ramirez was sent off for his second yellow card for pulling Cobi Jones to the ground. The U.S. doubled its lead in the 79th minute as Hejduk converted a Jones rebound. Razov closed out the scoring as he intercepted a pass and scored.
“I think this team is ready,” Jones said about World Cup qualifying, which the U.S. was going to begin in a month. “We’ve grown a lot under Bruce’s tutelage over the past year and a half or so and I think we’re going to continue to grow. I think we’re ready to go into the first stages and I think we’re going to get better and better through the qualifiers.”
United States: Kasey Keller, Tony Sanneh, Carlos Llamosa (Gregg Berhalter, 71), Jeff Agoos, David Regis, Earnie Stewart (Frankie Hejduk, 76), Chris Armas, Claudio Reyna, John O’Brien (Ben Olsen, 64), Brian McBride (Ante Razov, 81), Cobi Jones (Jovan Kirovski, 89)
Mexico: Sergio Bernal, Joaquin Beltran, Israel Lopez (captain), Gerrado Torrado, Luis Perez (Luis Ignacio Gonzalez, 66), Paulo Cesar Chavez (Carlos Carino, 85), Horacio Sanchez (Jaime Lozano, 46), Jesus Olalde, Christian Ramirez Raul Lapizar, Daniel Orsono (Ignacio Flores, 77).