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The USA shocked Mexico and the rest of North, Central America and Caribbean football fans in the 2021 Gold Cup final on Sunday, beating their neighbors and bitter rivals 1-0 with a 117th-minute goal from Miles Robinson.
It’s the second time this summer that the USMNT has beaten Mexico and celebrated by lifting a trophy after doing so at the Nations League final in June. Only, this time the USMNT squad was made up almost exclusively of MLS youngsters and European-based players in need of games either for fitness or transfer reasons.
Gregg Berhalter is now 2W-0D-1L against Gerardo “Tata” Martino in competitive USA – Mexico fixtures (2019 Gold Cup final).
Matt Turner made the game’s first big save in the 11th minute, and he needed every inch of his 6-foot-3 frame to push Rogelio Funes Mori’s shot around the post. It’s a difficult save that Turner has routinely made at the Gold Cup, and has undoubtedly raised his stock ahead of the start of World Cup qualifying.
15 minutes later, Paul Arriola had the USMNT’s best chance, one-on-one with goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera. Sebastian Lletget pounced quickly and won the ball after a sloppy touch along Mexico’s backline, playing Arriola into the penalty area with only Talavera to beat. And, perhaps, the post as well.
The second half was all Mexico, as El Tri took hold of the game and asked question after question of the USMNT’s back-seven. The chances were plentiful, and of rather high quality, but the defending Gold Cup champions couldn’t punish the USMNT. Orbelin Pineda was perhaps the most egregious waster of clear-cut chances in a very short period just after the break.
Mexico should have been down to 10 men in the 72nd minute, when Hector Herrera did something almost loosley resembling making a genuine play for
the back of Eryk Williamson’s head the ball.
Talavera wasn’t called upon often on Sunday, but his number was called with real urgency and an imminent threat in the 74th minute. Gyasi Zardes knocked down a free kick inside the six-yard box and it fell to Arriola at the near post. Arriola got there quickly, but Talavera was even quicker in his desperation.
Chances were few and far between by the time extra-time rolled around, paving the way for Robinson to put his head on Kellyn Acosta’s free kick and head it home. The shock on his face matched that of every USMNT fan who had guarded his, her or their self behind the idea that “we’re supposed to lose this game.”
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USMNT B-team shocks heavy favorites Mexico in Gold Cup final (video) originally appeared on NBCSports.com