Mission accomplished for the United States men’s national team and for head coach Gregg Berhalter. The USMNT defeated the Mexico national team 3-2 in extra time and the ‘golden generation’ demonstrated they have a strong mentality after going 1-0 down and winning at the end of 120 minutes.
With his dad in the stands, Gio Reyna leveled the scores in the first half after Jesús ‘Tecatito’ Corona scored in the first minute of the match. Then in the second half Diego Lainez came in for ‘El Tri’ and gave them the spark to break the deadlock with the clock running out. The Real Betis winger fired in a powerful left-footed shot to give Mexico a 2-1 lead, but the home team would not give up that easily. In the 82nd minute, Weston McKennie’s header found the back of the net to equalize and force extra time. The winner of the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea started the game, but had a discrete night during the first 90 minutes. It only took one brilliant play from Christian Pulisic to change the game in favor of the United States. In the 108th minute he started leaving players behind and as he entered the box to shoot the box, he was brought down by defender Carlos Salcedo. The referee, John Pitti, would check the foul with the help of the VAR and after a few minutes he gave the home team the penalty kick. It was Pulisic himself who converted the penalty for a goal after a clinical finish and gave the USMNT the 3-2 lead in the second half of overtime. “I am so proud of this group, we needed everyone today and it was a phenomenal performance,” Pulisic told CBS Sports. Mexico was awarded a late penalty, but Ethan Horvath, who came on in the second half replacing injured goalkeeper Zack Steffen, blocked Andrés Guardado’s shot and the USMNT tooko victory after 120 minutes. This is their first international title since winning the 2017 Gold Cup and the second time they have beaten Mexico in a CONCACAF final. “Me and Zack have been on the national team since we’ve been 14 years old together. He just said everyone believes in me and just do me,” Horvath on what Zack Steffen told him after coming in as a substitute. There was an incident late in the second half of normal time when the Mexican fans started chanting a discriminatory chant that delayed the game a few minutes. Also Reyna was hit in the face by a bottle during the celebrations after the Pulisic goal that eventually gave the US the CONCACAF Nations League trophy.