After failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup last summer, the expectation that was the USMNT (aka United States Men’s National Team) would adjust, reform and come back stronger than ever – with a long term goal probably being to go deep into the knockout stages at their home 2026 FIFA World Cup in North America.
Falling short of the mark
One of the biggest moments early on saw Christian Pulisic have a good opportunity in front of goal, but he wasn’t quite able to take full advantage of it. As the game progressed it felt as if the Mexicans were the ones on top, and that’s how it continued to play out right up until the one and only goal of the game.
Wolves forward Raul Jimenez, who has been sensational in this tournament, used a sneaky back heel to set up Jonathan dos Santos who sent Mexico into a frenzy. The win marked their first triumph in the competition since back in 2015, ensuring that they have been able to wrestle back the trophy from the Americans who won it in 2017.
“I think we lacked some calmness and composure,” said Berhalter.
“When you talk about a step the team needs to take, we’re close but we weren’t there tonight.”
The USMNT boss has never really come across as the kind of guy that can inspire the masses, but in a lot of ways, he didn’t really need to. All he needed to do was get the best out of what is a very talented squad of players – and he failed.
To say that this is a blow for them would almost certainly be an understatement, and now, they’ll be questioning what direction they go in front here. Of course, Mexico will believe that they can continue to build and develop their game, but the Americans find themselves way behind the pace in comparison to their female counterparts.
What happens next for the USMNT?
“This was what we came here for,” said Mexico’s Andres Guardado.
“We did it and in an unforgettable setting. We’re very happy. The whole team was spectacular.”
The passion and determination that has been on display from Mexico throughout the course of this tournament deserves to be recognised and praised, though, because at the end of the day, they were the best team by a country mile in the Gold Cup.
Reaching the final was considered to be the minimum that USMNT should’ve achieved, so in that sense, they did what was expected of them. Now, though, in order to properly utilise the kind of players they have at their disposal, they need to really think about what kind of staff they want running the show in the next few years as we prepare for both the 2021 Gold Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.