Monday, June 11, 2012

11 June 2000 - The US Cup Ends On A Strange Note

On 11 June 2000, the United States won the US Cup with a win over a Mexican national team that really wasn't the Mexican national team.

Starting in 1992, the US Cup was an annual friendly tournament contested by the US and three invited teams. For 2000, the invited teams were Ireland, South Africa, and Mexico, who had participated in the last four and won the last three.

But for 2000, an extension of the Mexican league season meant that many national team players would still be playing for their clubs during the time scheduled for the US Cup. Mexico asked the US to move the tournament to August, but the US declined. Mexico then considered boycotting, but the US threatened to file a lawsuit for breach of contract, so Mexico agreed to send a team.

The team they sent, though, did not include many of their national team regulars. Instead, they sent mid-table Primera División side UNAM Pumas, including their manager, Hugo Sánchez. Nevertheless, the under-strength team managed a draw with Ireland and a win over South Africa to meet the United States level on points on the last day, which is where their good run ended. Playing at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, the US rolled to an easy 3-0 win with goals from Brian McBride (pictured) (33'), Frankie Hejduk (79'), and Ante Razov (85') to claim the title.

Afterward, the US Socer Federation considered canceling the contract with Mexico for future tournaments, but the issue became moot as the tournament ended after 2000.

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