US complete CNL three-peat with 2-0 win over Mexico and their puto-chanting fans

March 24 – The US completed their third consecutive Nations League win in the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with a 2-0 win over Mexico.

A feisty game from start to finish saw the US dominate Mexico who belatedly pressed at the end, having a penalty decision in their favour overturned by VAR.

In the end the biggest threat to their title was the Mexican fans and their puto chant. Referee Drew Fisher from Canada twice suspended the game, the first time with three minutes to go and again in added time, before rapidly blowing the final whistle before the Mexicans fans forced the final stage of the discrimination protocol which is match abandonment.

It was a limp ending to what was a good game of football and one worthy of the final.

The three-peat for the US still leaves Mexico without a Nations League win. And without a solution to their fans’ discriminatory chanting.

No Nations League title is a serious gap in the Mexican trophy cupboard in terms of their Concacaf history. They have won, and generally dominated pretty much every other Concacaf male competition.

The US win completed a good March for their federation, with the women’s team having won the inaugural W Gold Cup earlier in the month.

Mexico may be leading the series between the two nations 43 wins to the US’s 24, but they haven’t beaten the USA for 1,663 days and counting. Their meetings are getting increasingly bad tempered as the US grows the performance gap between them.

US coach Gregg Berhalter made five changes to his starting line up, bringing in Sergino Dest at right back, and starting semi-final heroes Gio Reyna, Tyler Adams and Haji Wright up front. Reyna went on to star and score the second goal that sealed the US win.

Mexico’s Jamie Lozano made just two changes, bringing in Hirving Lozano alongside Henry Martin in attack and adding Jorge Sanchez at the back.

It was a helter skelter opening 10 minutes with neither side shirking the challenges.

In the first minute US keeper Matt Turner was forced to punch away a low hit Erick Sanchez free kick after a Sergino Dest foul on the left. Two minutes later he had to gather a cross from the other side from Jorge Sanchez.

A minute later the ball fell to Christian Pulisic whose poked shot was blocked by Guillermo Ochoa.

The pace was frantic but the US gradually exerted control of the midfield and pushed Mexico’s back four and holding midfielder deep. Tyler Adams was finding spaces while Weston McKennie provided the muscle as the US called the shots without really having any.

Mexico’s Edson Alvarez, instrumental to everything Mexico did in their semi-final against Panama, was getting bossed in midfield.

Wright, who only joined the US team as a late replacement, was a constant physical threat to Mexico’s centrebacks, who were fully occupied but to their credit gave as good as they got.

The best chance for Mexico fell on 22 minutes. Luis Chavez couldn’t put enough pace on a shot that curled into Turner’s arms.

On 37’ Dest, a constant source of creativity on the right, squeezed between two defenders, angling in on goal but hitting his shot over and to the right of Ochoa.

The US pressure was building and edging ever closer to Mexico’s goal. On 44 minutes Tyler Adams unleashed a thunderbolt.

With play building on the left the ball was worked to McKennie who found Adams 30m out and centre of goal. He hammered his shot into Ochoa’s top right hand corner.

The US went in at half time 1-0 up having had 58% of the possession.

Mexico had to find a way of winning and retaining the ball if they were to get back into this match. At half time Adams was replaced by Johnny Cardoso bit it made little difference to the flow of the game..

The US started stronger. In the 50th minute Tim Weah almost doubled the US lead with a hard hit low shot blocked by Ocha at his left post.

On 53’ Johan Vasquez brough Wright down on the top left hand edge of the Mexican box. Pulisic failed to deliver the free kick into the danger area. A minute later another Pulisic free kick on the right found Tim Ream but there was not enough power in the header to trouble Ochoa.

On the hour mark Mexico, in what had become a rare incursion into the US half, almost levelled. Henry Martin latched on to Dest’s failure to control the ball in the US box bit lashed his shot wide.

It wasn’t going to Mexico’s night. In the 63rd minute a magnificent surge by Pulisic down the left and across the base of the box saw a low hit cross ping around the goal before coming out to Rena who hit home – 2-0, game pretty much over.

Mexico regrouped and at last managed to take the game to the US. In the 72nd minute a ball into the US box found Santiago Jimenez who looked to have been brought by Antonee Robinson with a high kick to the head. The referee pointed to the spot but was called to the pitchside monitor by VAR and reversed his decision. The debate on that decision will be on-going but if anything was needed to tip the predominantly Mexico supporting 59,000+ crowd, this was it.

Jimenez, who had come on after the Reyna goal, was making a big difference for Mexico, providing a target for his midfielders by holding a high line. Perhaps he should have come on earlier.

Mexico were now pushing men forward but time was running out.  On 84’ Orbelin flashed over the top, a minute later Lozano did the same.

On 87’ minutes, with a series of puto chants having rung out around the stadium, the referee suspended play as the first step of the anti-discrimination protocol. With clock ticking past 90 minutes and the players still gathered in the centre circle, six minutes of added time was announced.

Play restarted and so did the puto chants every time Turner took a goal kick or cleared from his area. Six minutes into added time the referee Fisher stopped the game for a second time.

He started the game again but when Turner received the ball he swiftly drew an end to the process. It was a sad conclusion to a feisty game.

Mexico have a lot of thinking to do. The US can move on with confidence to the Copa America and hope that Berhalter’s new found expansive way of playing continues to develop.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1711646560labto1711646560ofdlr1711646560owedi1711646560sni@n1711646560osloh1711646560cin.l1711646560uap1711646560