The United States Men’s National Soccer Team are the first CONCACAF Nations League Champions. By defeating Mexico in the final, the USMNT win their first title since 2017. With a new golden generation with very good talent, the team’s future appears to be very bright.
Next month, the USMNT will compete in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. In September, they begin their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign. After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and losing the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, the USMNT is eager for redemption.
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) June 7, 2021
A 3-2 final score and a game full of controversy. From questionable officiating to both teams getting very physical with several altercations ensuing. No doubt, the game was getting out of hand. In addition, at one point, USMNT midfielder Gio Reyna was struck in the head with a bottle thrown from the stands, resulting in Reyna getting medical attention. Soon after, a Mexican player was also struck in the head by a bottle thrown from the stands. Complete and total chaos escalated by hooliganism. Furthermore, the safety of the players was at risk.
The USMNT found themselves down 1-0 just one minute into the game. A 2-0 Mexico lead was nullified due to an offside. Reyna would equalize in the 27th minute. With about ten minutes to go, Mexico would take the lead once more only for Weston McKennie to level the score 2-2 three minutes later. 90 minutes wasn’t enough to settle the contest.
Deep into extra time, Christian Pulisic would draw a foul, which was reviewed and confirmed by VAR. Pulisic would convert, putting the Americans in front for the first time in the game. In injury time after the 120th minute, Mexico was awarded a penalty only to fail to convert. The resiliency by the Americans tells the whole story of their survival in this match. In addition, concentration played a major role, as well.
Like McKennie, Reyna, and Pulisic, American goalkeeper Ethan Horvath deserves credit for his performance. Starting off on the bench, he entered the game after Zack Steffen was taken out due to an injury. He made a number of fantastic saves, including denying Mexico’s penalty kick that would have tied the game 3-3, thus sending the game into a penalty shoot-out. In addition, Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made numerous fantastic saves of his own. Both goalkeepers deserve praise for their performances.
The United States Men’s National Team is ready for the next challenge.
Follow Alex Al-Kazzaz on Twitter @BearManOfTX
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images