Editorial — The USMNT have arrived. Or, at least that’s the feeling throughout the country, as Outlaws awaken this morning. In what was undoubtedly a top three USA v Mexico match, it was the young Americans who came away with bragging rights, and the Nations League trophy. While the USMNT will feel like they’ve announced their presence, there is still plenty left to do before acquiring worldwide respect.
Christian Pulisic and USMNT Announce Presence After Win Over Mexico
If you missed any of last night’s thrilling 3-2 victory of Mexico, head over to our recap, where you can relive all the thrills. However, this is more of an overview of the night. A deeper look at how one of the youngest American sides, took down their oldest rival when it mattered most.
“We’re a Young Side and We Need to Learn How to Win”
Last night capped off what had been one of the most-hyped calendar years for USMNT in recent years. Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna, and Sergino Dest had all made noise overseas. All of them, for their respective teams, had seasons to remember that impressed not only Americans, but even converted a few Euro snobs. Christian Pulisic won the ultimate prize in Club football last week, lifting the UEFA Champions League trophy with his Chelsea FC squad. All the individual success for the youngsters led to the inevitable hype of what the team would look like with those talents all together. Last night, we got a glimpse.
While they did find themselves down a goal in the first five minutes, it was their ability to stay focused and not get too down that kept them from letting the game get too far out of hand. USMNT Head Coach, Gregg Berhalter, shared his thoughts saying, “It was important. We’re a young side and we need to learn how to win. It was about having a game plan, and the fight, and the spirit. Really showed the heart of a champion.”
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) June 7, 2021
Fight they did, at times, literally. Just a glance at the final stats show just how much spirit the USMNT had in overcoming a tough Mexican side. Mexico finished with more shots (21-14), more possession (57% – 43%), over a hundred more passes, on far better pass accuracy. While Mexico will be waking up feeling like they should’ve won this match going away, the fight and spirit Berhalter talked about was on full display in the second half and extra time.
None embodied the fighting spirit quite like backup goalkeeper, Ethan Horvath. Yes, backup goalkeeper. In the 69th minute, a non-contact injury sent goalkeeper Zack Steffen, to the bench. With just 50 minutes of match time, Horvath put in a MOTM performance. “How difficult, to come in during that stage of the game. Having a performance in his hometown is story book stuff” said Berhalter after there match. While each of his five saves were worthy of praise, it was the extra time penalty save that cemented his legendary status.
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) June 7, 2021
The Last Word
This rivalry needed last night. I know Mexico fans wont want to hear it, but last night was the best outcome likely. Think of the alternative. Mexico wins, USMNT Twitter has a meltdown, much of the same feelings that have been felt the last decade, return. Normalcy.
However, now? US commentators are declaring a changing of the guard. Articles are being written pondering a possible World Cup run. Eyes now shift to the ever explosive, CONCACAF Gold Cup, where these two will undoubtedly meet again. The young American core has injected a ton of new hope into the USMNT fanbase, while angering Mexican fans. This rivalry is renewed, and ready to reach even greater heights. The next decade will be fun.
Want more soccer talk and banter? Follow Trebor Tracy on Twitter @trebtracy.