Gold Cup Final: USA shines late in upset of Mexico in extra time 1-0

Gold Cup USA Men's Team Soccer Allegiant Stadium
Aug 1, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; United States players celebrate after defeating Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final soccer match at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

When the CONCACAF Gold Cup got underway in 2021, US Men’s National Team coach Gregg Berhalter made it clear his team had but one goal: win the tournament. Berhalter and the USA did exactly that in front of a raucous capacity crowd at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas Sunday beating Mexico 1-0 in extra time.

Despite continued problems with event management at Allegiant Stadium, the soccer-hungry crowd was treated to a heroic display and ending thanks to the USMNT.

Defender Miles Robinson was the American hero on this day as the heavily weighted pro-Mexico crowd was left stunned as Berhalter’s stated goal came to pass with a youthful roster to make it a reality in the 117th minute.

“When I look back at it, I’m most proud for the team, for the guys,” Berhalter said after the match. “We were together for a month, and we just saw them growing, we saw the team growing, saw individuals growing and improving. We saw the team chemistry growing. So really proud of the group, really proud of their resiliency. And you know, when you look at the game today, we did not stop. It was relentless from us. And that was a mark of a good team.”

It was just the second time in the Gold Cup Final history that the USA managed to beat Mexico, the other instance occurring in 2007.

Gold Cup Final was back-and-forth affair

Mexico got off to a strong start in the Gold Cup Final, firing nine shots in the first half alone, but USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner saved the day time and time again, keeping the American hopes alive. After a back-and-forth second half, where both teams had good looks and combined for 10 shots, the game was all but assuredly heading to penalties near the end of extra time.

Gold Cup USMNT soccer Allegiant Stadium
Aug 1, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; United States forward Paul Arriola (7) and defender Miles Robinson (12) and midfielder Kellyn Acosta (23) celebrate after defeating Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final soccer match at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t until the final three minutes of extra time that Kellyn Acosta was awarded a free-kick that assisted Miles Robinson on a surgical header goal, beating El Tri’s Edson Alvarez to the ball. It was Robinson’s third goal in nine international caps.

This was USMNT’s ninth-consecutive win and gives them all the momentum they need heading into World Cup qualifying next month. It was also the seventh time they’ve lifted the Gold Cup trophy, equaling Mexico on the all-time list.

The USMNT’s return to action is September 2nd against El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier. Mexico will face Jamaica in a qualifier on that same day.