The United States has completed the CONCACAF double. The U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Mexico 1-0 in extra time to win the Gold Cup Final, its first Gold Cup title since 2017 to add to its Nations League crown in June. The winning goal came in the 117th minute from defender Miles Robinson to get the Americans its second final win against Mexico. Crew striker Gyasi Zardes played all 120 minutes and has won his second major trophy in less than 12 months.
Zardes got the nod after not starting the last two knockout games and made his 22nd Gold Cup appearance for the USMNT. The start makes Zardes the fifth most capped American player for the Gold Cup, behind Landon Donovan (34), Michael Bradley (25), Clint Dempsey (24), and Kasey Keller (23).
Mexico asserted its control of the game early in the first half with efficient ball movement and physicality. El Tri’s first chance was in the 11th minute with Rogelio Funes Mori getting an open header from a corner only to have his accurate header saved by Matt Turner.
The Americans' first chance was in the 26th minute after a high press forced a Mexican turnover. Paul Arriola found himself in the box with an open shot but his low attempt hit off the post in what should have been the first goal of the game. Five minutes later, Turner came up big yet again with a near-post stop on Funes Mori.
The first half ended and the USA had the best chance of the half with Arriola’s shot despite the lack of offensive production. Mexico held more than two-thirds of the possession and got 12 shots off compared to 4 for the Red, White, and Blue.
El Tri got its own open miss in the 50th minute after an energetic start to the second 45. Orbelin Pineda got the ball in the box and hesitated to get an open shot in the middle. Pineda missed the whole target but it didn’t stop there. Two minutes later, Pineda had another golden opportunity off target with an open run to the near-post.
The Americans took the momentum of the game midway through the second half with a successful forward press and better counter attacks. Matthew Hoppe had himself two good chances in the 69th and 71st minutes but both shots were blocked. The theme of the match was the ball refusing to cross the line, no matter what chance any team had. Nobody could score in the first 90 minutes with another USA-Mexico final going to extra time.
In extra time, Zardes looked in some discomfort in the 98th minute with a noticeable limp and a gingerly walk away from the ball. It seemed as though the Crew striker wasn’t too badly hurt which was a welcome sight for Columbus fans ready to see its top striker back with the club.
The golden moment was in the 117th minute as the best two US players combined for the Gold Cup winning goal. Kellyn Acosta sent a free kick into the box that was headed in by an unmarked Miles Robinson to win the match. The United States’ Gold Cup triumph is the seventh in the nation’s history and first since 2017.
Zardes has now won two Gold Cups and two MLS Cups in his successful career in American soccer. He will return to Columbus and re-join the Black & Gold for the remainder of the MLS season with the potential to receive more call-ups for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
The United States returns to play in September with its first World Cup qualifier in El Salvador. The USMNT will now try to make its first World Cup since 2014 with all the momentum in the world with two trophies this summer.