The United States may have lost the Gold Cup final, but MLS players still made a big contribution for the winning team.
LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos scored the lone goal in a tightly-contested 1-0 win for Mexico over their archrivals, capping a very fruitful Gold Cup for both of the Galaxy players turning out for El Tri.
The other, Uriel Antuna, was also a starter in the final and perhaps the revelation of the tournament, but it was Dos Santos’ 73rd-minute floated finish off a nifty feed from Raul Jimenez that gave Mexico its record eighth Gold Cup win:
Dos Santos, a central midfielder not known for his prolific goalscoring, has been a key cog for Mexico throughout the tournament. He started all three of Mexico’s knockout round matches, as well as their marquee group stage showdown with Canada.
However, it was Antuna who caught the eye early and ended up appearing in all six of Mexico’s games. The Santos Laguna academy product, currently on loan to the Galaxy from Manchester City, was a late injury replacement on the Mexico roster but announced his arrival in the tournament with a bang, scoring in the 2nd minute of the opener against Cuba en route to a hat trick in that game.
Antuna would also start in both of Mexico’s remaining group stage matches, adding another goal in the finale vs. Martinique, and started two of the three knockout games he appeared in, including Sunday’s final.
Mexico, of course, have a manager that’s plenty familiar with MLS in Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, who led Atlanta United for two years and won MLS Cup 2018 before moving south of the border. Though he has come close on several occasions, reaching the Copa América final three times with Paraguay and Argentina, the 2019 Gold Cup is Martino’s first international trophy.