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United States Soccer, The Golden Generation

UNITED STATES VS MEXICO

The first thing to discuss when it comes to this game is the starting lineup Gregg Berhalter put on the field.  USA was playing with their European talent field which has brought home 10 trophies this past club season. So, with most of our best players on roster why did some of them play and what was Gregg thinking with this formation. US started the Game playing a 3-4-3 which seems on formation choice when your outside backs and mids remain some of your best players. This brings up the next topic, which is the choice on starters, Tyler Adams obviously could not start due to coming off the injured list. But that still does not explain the decision of starting Acosta over Musah who seems to be one of the best midfield prospects USA has ever had. This weakness from the starters was quickly shown when Mexico was able to open the scoring less than 2 minutes into the game, off an inexcusable turnover by McKenzie. From there it seemed like the United States were being beaten in the open flow of play during the remainder of the first half, but the US looked deadly on fast breaks and set pieces. When it comes to set pieces, Weston McKennie was on another level having won 3 headers in the box off corners. One of the headers hit off the Post for Gio Reyna to knock in the net to tie the game at 1-1. The second half was not quite the same though throughout the game we could tell that Josh Sargent is just average and is not the future number 9 of the national team. But other than the average performance by him in the second half, the rest of the squad was starting to bring the heat to Mexico. It got even more intense after Horvat came in for the injured Zac Steffen and proceeded to get slide into by Herrera which resulted in a yellow card and massive scuffle. Prior to this scuffle Mexico brings in super sub Lainez which scores within 5 minutes of entering the game to put Mexico up 2-1. After the scuffle tensions are flaring at a match high point, USA unlike in years pass is holding there heads up and pushing hard for the equalizer. That is when a moment of brilliance finally comes for the US, in the 82nd minute USA gets another corner and no one else but Weston Mckennie himself puts in the equalizer on a superb header. After Several minutes of nothing exciting, but after several shoving matches and dirty tackles by Herrera and other players we reach OT finally.  The first half of OT was very sloppy by both sides. You could see the heavy legs were slowing everyone down both physically and mentally. This led to the second half where 6 minutes into play Christan Pulisic was taken down on what was very controversial VAR call, but ultimately the call was reviewed, and the penalty was given to the US as well as a red card to the Mexican coach for laying a hand on a referee. Once the punishment was handed down, Captain America Christian Pulisic buried the PK into the top right giving US a 3-2 lead. Once the Ball hit the net the American’s ran to the corner flag properly showing the Mexican fans who their new worse enemies were and the new Kings of CONCACAF. The Mexican dominant crowd in Denver did what they always do and started raining cups, bottles and anything they could throw down on the heads of the US players and even injuring Gio Reyna. This however wouldn’t be the wildest part of extra time. That would come in the 120th minute when a Mexican corner resulted in a ball be headed towards McKenzie’s hand and in turn resulted in yet another very controversial VAR review and yet another PK. So up steps the Mexican Captain Guardado vs the backup Goalie Ethan Horvath, and the PK goes just as expected. Said absolutely fucking no one, Horvath shows that he’s no average back up and makes a full stretched save on his right side. The US clears the line and a couple more shoving matches ensue and Guardado even goes as far as to grab Weston McKennie by the Throat. A huge shoving match ensues, but ultimately no punches are thrown and nothing really else happens for the remainder of the Game.

By: Kameron Cox

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