3:10 p.m. Well, ok, we're not actually at the Rose Bowl yet. Luis and I decided to be environmental and carpool to the game and at this moment, we're stuck in the traffic leading to the stadium parking lots. People are walking past us at a steady clip, going faster than the molasses pace of the crowded cars.
Also, we haven't seen one USA fan yet. It's been pure El Tri flags and jerseys on the people and waving from the cars.
3:12 - A USA flag! Yay for the folks in the gold Toyota Camry.
4:10 - Finally safe in the press box. Fans starting to get to their seats at well. Kickoff is in a couple of hours. There's no water in the pressbox, though. Nothing until 5pm, they say.
5: 15 - Just got back from the Chuck Blazer press conference - the big scoop is that he's not running for CONCACAF president in the next election. Other than that, he wouldn't talk FIFA stuff. Mainly he said this Gold Cup has been a big success.
5: 20 - So Bradley ends up being the coach with the surprises - Adu starts! Chepo de la Torre goes with the same lineup he's had since the suspensions.
Full starting lineup - USA: Howard, Bocanegra, Bradley, Dolo, Dempsey, Donovan, Jones, Lichaj, Adu, Goodson, Bedoya
Mexico - Salcido, Marquez, Torrado, Barrera, Castro, Dos Santos, Talavera, Hernandez, Moreno, Juarez, Guardado
Actually, now that the teams have jogged onto the field, I'd have to say that the USA support isn't bad. A solid 20 percent, and a vocal minority here at the Rose Bowl.
5:45 Mexico isn't doing much in their warmup - not that that means anything. They're basically jogging a bit and tapping the ball back and forth. Clearly, they don't want to expend any extra energy.
5:55 - Nice little PSA on the importance of signing up for the bone marrow registry to help kids like little Jonah, who jogged onto the field. Get registered, folks! I'm registered, though I've never been called upon to donate.
5:56 - The Gold Cup trophy is out on the field now. It's very modern looking, a little soulless, some might say.
5:58 - 10-man USA team holds on versus New Zealand in the U17 World Cup. The 0-0 result advances them out of the group round, but they'll be playing one of the tougher teams.
6:00 Anthems. The crowd is pretty respectful of both.
It's really a mixed group at the Rose Bowl, right below the pressbox, there's a couple at the game together. He's wearing the latest USA Donovan jersey. She's in a Chicharito green El Tri jersey. They're sharing a beer.
1 - Kickoff! Looks like Donovan is up top. Not sure I like that. Donovan can finish fine, but of late, he's been more effective as the feeder. But I'd bet that's not what Mexico expected.
2 - Guardado feeds Chicha in the box, but Lil Pea can't quite get on it. USA escape.
4 - Goal kick for the USA as another Mexico attack fails on the final pass. Not looking good for the Americans so far.
5 - Corner kick for Mexico. It's cleared.
6 - Mexico counter - Chicha gets knocked down but Dos Santos picks the ball up and attacks the goal. His outside shot doesn't miss by much.
8 - 'Dolo and Adu work together nicely to get a corner. Adu takes it, and Bradley heads the ball into the goal. GOAL! USA!
9 - It was really nice interplay between Adu and Dolo, outnumbered against defenders, but using some quality ball control to keep the ball until Dolo bounced it off a defender for the corner. Adu took the corner well, and Bradley had perfect near-post position for the flick into the goal.
12 - Dolo is out - injury of some kind. J. Bornstein comes in - and Chicha gets a header, but it was over the goal.
14 - Dempsey hacks at Marquez, gets his leg. Chicha in the box again, misses wide.
15 - Barrera takes a crack after Guardado sets him up - Howard saves.
17 - Mexico corner kick - cleared.
20 - Cherundolo has a left ankle sprain.
21 - Mexico is really hammering at the USA goal. I'm reminded of the last USA-Mexico qualifier at Azteca. The USA got the early lead there, but ultimately, that fired Mexico up and they came back to win the game.
23 - - Adu with a nice solo run, but he eventually gets cut off.
23 - GOAL! Landon Donovan. Freddy to Dempsey to Donovan. Dempsey returns the favor from the Panama match.
25 - The Mexico fans in the crowd are getting a bit grumpy. The USA fans? In ecstasy.
26 - Freddy has a go! Misses wide.
28 - Salcido is off - Torres Nilo comes on. Guess the Honduras game took more out of Salxido than many imagined.
29 - Suddenly the stadium roars! GOAL! Barrera!
30 - Just like that, Mexico is back in striking distance. Game on.
31 - It was Chicha with the assist to Barrera. This game is a cracker.
33 - Donovan gets a yellow for tripping Rafa Marquez from behind.
36 - GOAL! Mexico ties it, or does the USA also give it away at the same time? Succession of errors, really. Donovan and Jones collide in midfield, letting a long pass get down to Dos Santos, who crossed it in and when Lichaj tried to clear the ball fell to Guardado, who tucked it into an empty goal because Howard had come out for the earlier shot. 2-2
38 - Adu down for a bit. Back up.
42 - Now Marquez is down. Still not up. He's carted off the field.
43 - Crowd working together - USA and Mexico fans alike, to do the wave. There it goes, around the stadium three times now.
44 - Reynoso is in now for Marquez. Guardado has the armband, which Marquez previously had.
45 - Mexico working the ball around. They get a counter and Gio is out ahead of the Merican defense, with Guardado running near post. Gio shoots past an onrushing Tim Howard, misses far post, and Guardado is mad Gio didn't pass it to him instead.
45+ Goodson saves a Mexico counter by leaping high to clear the pass that was much more accurate than the American attack's long passes tend to be.
Well, so much for Dos a Cero, but on the other hand, Mexico has only a single sub left, and they've burned a lot of energy fighting back to equalize. It's a cliche, but it's still anyone's game at this point.
Teams are back on the field for the second half. I'll probably be writing less, though, because have to start working on my article for si.com.
47 - Bedoya is lively to beat his defender, but his cross is way off.
48 - Dos Santos waltzes the ball into the box against five USA defenders, nearly walks the ball into the goal.
49 - I think Howard might be unnerved by the "Puto" chants. he doesn't seem his solid self.
50 - Not a minute after I type that, GOAL! MEXICO! Barrera finishes past a diving Howard. 3-1
51 - Correction to earlier post - Mexico has a sub left.
54 - Guardado had the assist to Barrera, by the way. He's really the key to making things happen for Mexico.
57 - Adu fights for the ball, gets a freekick deep in USA territory, though.
58 - Now Freddy gets a much better freekick chance. He and Donovan stand over it - and it's a nice free kick by Adu- not Beckham caliber, too soft, but Talavera has to make the save.
60 - The USA builds up nicely and Dempsey off the CROSSBAR!
62 - Attendance is announced at 93,420. Years later, people will ask, "Where you there?" This game is that good. Best Gold Cup final ever? Could be.
63 - Jones leads out a USA counter, then Freddy muffs it with a weird backpass and Jones has to chase Dos Santos all the way back to the USA goal.
67 - Scuffle on the field - Jones apparently took a swing at Chicha, but the ref missed it. Gio then fouled a USA player hard, and then the freekick nearly went in for the USA.
68 - Mexico are pissed at Jones. It might have been perfect timing for the tiring squad. Anger gives them new energy.
73 - The El Tri players are now shoving Jones every chance they get.
75 - Final sub for Mexico - Zavala - so no chance for De Nigris today. Barrera is off. Chepo is looking to close up shop.
76 - GOAL! Mexico - A still pissed Chicha fights for the ball in the corner, forcing Bocanegra and Bornstein to take him on and Bornstein finally pokes the ball away, right to Dos Santos, who attacks into the corner of the box, Howard, rushing out, can't get the ball away, and Dos Santos isn't closed down by the defense, and kicks a delicate chip into the corner. 4-2. Mexico leads with breathing room.
77 - Oh, it was Eric Lichaj on the post who couldn't jump high enough. Not his fault, the finish from Dos Santos was perfect - and he's gotten a lot of grief for his lack of finishing.
84 - Dempsey from distance is not even a little close.
87 - Yellow for Dempsey, who is steaming. 4 unanswered goals by the opposition will do that do ya.
Fulltime! Mexico wins the 2011 Gold Cup! What a great final. Well, USA fans, what do you think? Does Bob Bradley need to go?