PASADENA, California // Tim Howard made the long walk from the United States locker room to the departing team bus on Saturday night, fuming over his team's Concacaf Gold Cup final loss to Mexico and their second rate status on home turf.
Once Mexico had recovered from falling two goals behind early on to claim a 4-2 victory, wild celebrations broke out at the Rose Bowl Stadium that reaffirmed the Americans' feeling that they were visitors in their own home.
"I think it was a ... disgrace that the entire post-match ceremony was in Spanish," a seething Howard, the US goalkeeper, told reporters. "If we were in Mexico City the ceremony would not be all in English.
"Concacaf should be ashamed of themselves."
The US were swallowed up by the sea of green and red worn by many of the Mexican fans that made up the passionate crowd of 93,420.
But the Americans did not lose the match because of crowd support, they lost because Mexico proved to be the better, more dynamic side for the second Gold Cup final in a row.
"We have to take it up another level," Landon Donovan, the US forward, said.
"In these games we want to even things out a little more and not have them [Mexico] have the possession the whole time."
The disappointment of letting slip an early two-goal advantage was a big disappointment to the US side, who again failed to close out a final from a winning position.
In the 2009 Confederations Cup final, the US held a 2-0 lead over Brazil, the five-time world champions, only to lose 3-2 after faltering late on.
"It's beyond me how they rallied back, because we hit them [early]," said Howard. "It all hurts when you get your butt kicked. And that's what happened today."
* Associated Press