Why everyone’s talking about America’s epic League of Nations final against Mexico

Why everyone’s talking about America’s epic League of Nations final against Mexico

Maybe you were watching Logan Paul vs. Floyd Mayweather. That’s great.

But if you spent your Sunday night glued to the United States vs Mexico final for the Nations League trophy, you will never forget it. The United States Men’s National Team won 3-2 in overtime thanks to a penalty from Christian Pulisic and a penalty save from substitute goalie Ethan Horvath in the dying moments at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver.

If you haven’t caught it, you’re about to feel really bad that you missed it. The match had fans saying stuff like this:

USMNT director Gregg Berhalter called it “a complete mess”. But it was a mess. It was wild. It was touching. It was unpredictable. He brought out the best and the worst of people. You couldn’t take your eyes off him. These are the moments we will remember from a truly epic game.

AFTER: A live blog on America’s stunning victory over Mexico

One goal after 62 seconds

We probably should all have understood that it was going to be crazy in Denver when we saw Mexico score a turnover almost a minute into the game.

Two penalties in extra time

No kidding. If someone had told you in that 2nd minute that the game would have two shots on goal for each team in full overtime, you wouldn’t have believed it. Watch the highlights of the two PKs here:

And let’s be honest, an overtime penalty deserves the overly exuberant signal from the referee:

The alternate goalkeeper is the hero off the bench

Just like a Hollywood script. Except also save him a penalty to avoid going to a shootout. And also make sure the goalkeeper is in the same state the match was playing in so that we can have that moment after the match:

And did we mention he saved a penalty in extra time stoppage?

The emotion in the stands

Father’s Day arrived two weeks earlier in Denver. Horvath’s moment with his father was preceded by another proud father who became all emotional. American legend Claudio Reyna watches his son Gio Reyna score his first American goal in a game that counts:

Fans threw stuff on the pitch

Young Reyna was also involved in the scariest moment of the night. He had to receive treatment on the pitch after being hit by a projectile during the overtime goal celebration.

And then on the other side of the pitch, fans were throwing more debris on the pitch. And this time Mexican Henry Martin was hit.

Land invasion

Fans did not perform particularly well at the stadium that day. The game was momentarily stopped when a few fans ran onto the field:

Suspension of the match due to homophobic chant

The organizers crack down on the use of a homophobic chant by some of the supporters of the Mexican national team. Just as the game entered extra time, the game was briefly suspended.

Choke hold incident

Veteran Mexico midfielder Hector Herrera should have been sent off… twice. The head referee looked the other way for a cleat foul that should have resulted in his second yellow. And then the video assistant referee in the booth missed this:

Someone has been kicked out

It was the manager of Mexico, Tata Martino, of all the people. The generally mild-mannered coach decided it was a good idea to put his arm around the umpire… as the umpire reviewed the US penalty incident to the monitor! You can’t make that up.

Coach and player collide

US coach Gregg Berhalter received a verbal warning from the referee for leaving his area and hitting a Mexican player.

Berhalter, who was called to the show for donning Travis Scott 6s, had an overall busy night on the sidelines:

Pulisic with the winner

The star arrived when it mattered most. But before that, he was the worst player on the pitch for the United States. He wore the captain’s armband at night, but he was invisible most of the time.

When his team needed him most, he had the legs to complete one of his weaving runs in tight spaces and drew the contact into the box. Then he intervened to bury the penalty. Best PK execution you’ll ever see.

It’s a week that Christian Pulisic will not soon forget:

McKennie the man

The best player on the field for the United States was Weston McKennie. He raced for two players and he was a force on set pieces. His goal (and the celebration of Harry Potter) capped a stellar performance, earning him the Nations League MVP.

He was the confident and emotional leader that the USA team still needs him:

night photo

So the question is, where will Pulisic hang this in his house? Reading corner, maybe? This is the image (captured by Cristian De Marchena) that fans will remember the night by.

Define the invader

Unfortunately, there was also an invader from the CBS studio set:

Running on a set featuring Clint Dempsey in his hunting gear can never be a good decision:

Then again, Dempsey may have been too busy roasting his fellow studio hosts to deal with an invader:

The ribs got a little too carried away on the CBS set, and Onyewu apologized on the air:

So, it was pretty hectic. Everyone watching the game felt what JJ Watt was tweeting.

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