Winning the Concacaf Gold Cup wasn’t everything for the U.S. Men’s National Team entering the tournament this month, but securing a victory on Sunday night over rival Mexico proved that the Americans are the class of the region going into World Cup qualifying in September.
Gregg Berhalter received mixed reviews ahead of Gold Cup when opting to rest a lot of USMNT regulars, but the decision was justified given the amount of miles players like Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie had played during 2020/21.
Instead of seeing an ‘A’ team of sorts for the Americans competing against El Tri in Sunday’s final, the USMNT was comprised of a mix of young MLS players and various European-based talents with little international exposure.
In typical USA-Mexico fashion, the Gold Cup came down to one critical moment when Miles Robinson headed home Kellyn Acosta’s free kick in the second half of extra time to seal the USMNT win.
Goalkeeper Matt Turner was a star throughout the match and the tournament, earning the Top Goalkeeper award for the competition. Meanwhile, Berhalter’s confidence in his squad was a recurring theme throughout the Gold Cup, sticking with his lineup even when things didn’t go according to plan.
A prime example of this came in the final when Paul Arriola missed two of the game’s biggest chances for the Americans.