The historic rivalry between the USA and Mexico continued at the beautiful new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, for the Nations League semifinal. In what feels more like the final than a semifinal, here’s how the teams lined up:
USA Mexico Recap: The birth of “Tres a Cero?”
The game kicks off and the US immediately go on attack, with a spell of possession in the final third that eventually led to nothing, however the US are seemingly more than up for it. Mexico hits back with a chance of their own, and this game was fully underway merely moments in. After a few minutes of feeling each other out, Jorge Sanchez was left with a free shooting lane just outside the 18 yard box, and skied it over the bar. The wave started rolling through the crowd five minutes later.
Some nice link up play between Weah and Reyna earned the USA the first corner of the night, which led to nothing, until some cheeky skill from Dest earned another, but all was handled by the Mexico defense. Christian Pulisic then had an unbelievable chance, as he linked up with Balogun who sent him down the flank, he dribbled around Ochoa, and put it over the bar. The best chance of the opening 25 minutes, as the US started to take control.
The first yellow card of the game was shown in the 36th minute to Uriel Antuna for a foul on Pulisic. Minutes later, Captain America found a loose ball after it pinged around the top of the box, he didn’t miss this time. 1-0. The USA takes the goal advantage into the half.
It wasall USA now, as Reyna clips in a ball to Pulisic that he couldn’t quite get his head to, after a nice spell of possession in the final third.
Reyna and Antuna collided head to shoulder, as Reyna takes the blunt of the hit. Moments later, he got the heavily pro Mexico crowd fired up as tempers start to flare. Mexico sensed the game being lost. Israel Reyes and Antonee Robinson pick up a yellow card each after more shenanigans. Proper Concacaf and it only got crazier from there.
Things really heated up in the 69th. Players shoving each other round, red cards being shown, madness. Montes and McKennie were off, so it was 10-v-10 for the final 20 minutes. The US made their first changes of the night in the 75th minute, bringing Gio Reyna,(who of course got the crowd going) and Folarin Balogun off for Luca de la Torre and Ricardo Pepi.
Mexico saw two tremendous chances go begging after Matt Turner saved an Antuna shot, who got the rebound and fires it wide. Immediately after, the USA delivers the knockout blow, Dest plays Pepi, who was barely onside, and dribbles around Ochoa to make it Tres a Cero.
There was even more drama with just five minutes remaining. Another red for Mexico, yellows for Richards and Ochoa, Alvarez and Dest get into it with fans throwing trash on the field. This was Concacaf chaos of the highest order. The game was halted in the 90th minute due to discriminatory chanting. If you’ve followed the Mexican federation, you know what it is. The refs blew the whistle and the USA earn an emphatic 3-0 win, or should we call it tres a cero?
The USA will face off against Canada in the final Sunday, which will more than likely be much more tame.