USA see off Mexico in Nations League final marred by homophobic chants

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USA see off Mexico in Nations League final marred by homophobic chants

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USA lift the trophy
USA lift the trophy Reuters
Goals by Tyler Adams and Gio Reyna led the US men's national team to a 2-0 victory over Mexico in the final of the CONCACAF Nations League in Arlington, Texas, for a third consecutive title.

The US won the inaugural Nations League final 3-2 in extra time over Mexico in 2021 and took the second title in 2023, besting Mexico in the semi-final before downing Canada 2-0. The Americans now have a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) against their rivals with Mexico's last victory coming on September 6, 2019.

Making his first start for the US since the loss to the Netherlands in the World Cup 475 days ago, Adams stunned the Mexicans just before the break with a screamer from 35 yards to the upper left corner. Coming off two surgeries on his hamstrings though, he was on a 45-minute limit and was replaced at half-time by Johnny Cardoso.

Reyna, who came off the bench Wednesday to assist a pair of extra-time goals by Haji Wright in the 3-1 semi-final win over Jamaica, struck from the upper left side of the box just after the hour. Christian Pulisic made a swerving dribble to send the ball across goal, where it was cleared by Mexican defender Johan Vasquez to Reyna, who has two goals and five assists in his past five Nations League matches.

A penalty was awarded to Mexico's Santiago Gimenez in the 72nd minute after a high kick by Antonee Robinson but it was quickly overturned by video review and Gimenez was carded for embellishment.

Until Adams' brilliance, the best scoring opportunity for either side came in the fifth minute when Pulisic dribbled into the box to force a save by Guillermo Ochoa at the near post. Pulisic targeted the upper corner, but Ochoa got both arms above his head to parry the attempt.

The match was delayed for about five minutes in the 88th minute and again briefly in the 96th minute because the pro-Mexican crowd made homophobic chants during US goal kicks.

Mexican fans did the same thing when the two sides met in the semi-finals last year, and several of them were arrested this time in measures supported by CONCACAF.

“CONCACAF condemns the discriminatory chanting,” the governing body said in a statement.

“Security staff in the stadium identified and ejected a significant number of fans, and the referee and match officials activated the FIFA protocol... It is extremely disappointing that this matter continues to be an issue at some matches.” 

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