Two weekends, two trophies for Christian Pulisic, who captained the US Men’s National Team tonight to victory in the first ever CONCACAF Nations League final, scoring the winning goal as well.
I’m not sure it was “good” football, but it was certainly entertaining for the most part, and there were 120 minutes, and close to 30 minutes of added-on time in total, of it! We might be here all week if we were to recount all the hilarious nonsense that happened in this most CONCACAF-y final between the two big powers in the region in a competition that really isn’t much more than a friendly tournament (akin to the UEFA Nations League). I’m sure Stars and Stripes FC have it all covered.
PUT IT DIRECTLY IN MY VEINS pic.twitter.com/X9I3Z9MxP4— Stars and Stripes FC (@StarsStripesFC) June 7, 2021
Mexico scored inside of 70 seconds, had a second goal ruled out by VAR (in use for the first time in a CONCACAF final), then the US equalized (Gio Reyna!), then Mexico took the lead again late on, then the US equalized just minutes later (Weston McKennie!), then we went into extra time, then Pulisic won a dubious penalty, awarded by VAR, which he converted with ice cold precision, then Mexico got an ever more dubious penalty, awarded by VAR, which substitute goalkeeper Ethan Horvath saved (Man City’s Zach Steffen started, but appeared to hurt his knee in the second half), and then we had nearly 11 minutes added on at the end of a 15-minute half of extra time ... but eventually the final whistle blew and there was much rejoicing. (Well, some, considering the not-so-home-field advantage.)
At some point, Mexico’s head coach was sent off was putting an arm around the shoulder of the referee, not long after Mexico’s Hector Herrera was not sent off or even shown a second yellow for a late studs-up challenge on Timothy Weah. Reyna was one of several players (for both sides) hit by projectiles from the stands, and just before the end of regulation, the match was also stopped briefly in response to continued homophobic chanting from the Mexico fans. So, just another day in CONCACAF.
In any case, congrats, Captain of America, Christian Pulisic!
Elsewhere on Sunday, Andreas Christensen, Mateo Kovačić, and Billy Gilmour all featured for their respective national teams in warm-up friendlies ahead of Euro 2020, with Gilmour especially garnering some plaudits for his 30 minutes of action against Luxembourg. The Chelsea youngster was forced off with a knock 15 minutes from time after arriving as a half-time substitute, but is expected to be okay for the tournament. (None of the Chelsea trio featured in England’s 1-0 friendly win against Romania.)