The U.S. men’s national team pulled off the upset and beat a near full-strength Mexico side 1-0 in the 2021 Gold Cup final in Las Vegas. A dramatic set-piece goal scored by defender Miles Robinson with three minutes remaining in extra time was the game-winner.
In the 117th minute, and with the match looking destined for a penalty-kick shootout, Robinson beat Mexico’s Edson Alvarez to a beautiful delivery by Kellyn Acosta in the center of the Mexican penalty area.
Mexico will be disappointed for not breaking through in the first half, when it dominated the game with several looks at goal, only to see U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner come up big to keep El Tri at bay. But the USA had the best chance of that first half through Paul Arriola, who struck the outside of the right post near the half-hour mark.
The Americans were much better in the second half, and they grew into a match that was fairly even by the end of regulation. Orbelin Pineda had two of the best looks for Mexico, but he couldn’t convert early in the second half. Arriola and Matthew Hoppe had the best chances for the USMNT toward the end of the 90 minutes, but both attempts were blocked. Fatigue began to show both sides as the extra time periods fizzled out with few real opportunities before Robinson’s goal.
It’s the seventh Gold Cup title for the USA and first since 2017. Mexico has won the trophy eight times with Canada being the only other nation to win it in 2000.
It’s also the second major final victory by the USA over Mexico after the CONCACAF Nations League triumph in June (3-2, also after extra time). All eyes next turn to World Cup qualifying action that kicks off in September.
USMNT vs. Mexico final score
USA: Miles Robinson (Kellyn Acosta) – 117th min.
(All times Eastern)
Final: USA 1, Mexico 0 (a.e.t.)
Final: The USA gets it done! Gold Cup champion. So many doubts around this squad and the Americans upset a near full-strength Mexican side. It’s the second major trophy for the USA against Mexico in roughly two months (Nations League in June). And the USMNT pulls it off with grit, strong defense, hard work and opportune goals.
121st min.: SUB – Henry Kessler comes into the match as a final sub for Matthew Hoppe. He’ll help with any final set pieces into the box.
118th min.: With two minutes until a penalty-kick shootout, the USA breaks through. Robinson beats Edson Alvarez to a fantastic service from Acosta, who’s been terrific in this game. The USA looks like it’s going to win this.
117th min.: And on the set piece by Kellyn Acosta, Miles Robinson heads it home!!!
117th min.: Another yellow card in this extra time. And it’s Edson Alvarez who stops Gioacchini who was attacking down the left.
114th min.: A caution comes out for Jesus Gallardo as well for a reckless collision into Matthew Hoppe. The Honduran referee has been excellent tonight.
113th min.: Yellow card for Kellyn Acosta for stopping a promising Mexican attack. It was a smart foul from a U.S. perspective. Nothing comes of the set piece.
107th min.: Shot on goal for USA! Zardes makes a nice run around the defense and fires a left-footed shot on goal, but it’s right at Talavera.
105th min.: SUBS – Looking for a bit more energy, Mexico makes its final two subs. Forward Alan Pulido comes on for Rogelio Funes Mori and Gilberto Sepulveda enters in central defense for Carlos Salcedo, who was a sub himself.
End of 1st Extra Time: USA 0, Mexico 0
105th min.: Both teams are sapped of energy and the passes are no longer as precise and sharp as they were during regulation. Not sure we’ll get many chances from here on out.
104th min.: Rare shot in this extra time. Hoppe blasts a shot toward goal that’s off the mark and Gianluca Busio calls him out for not passing the ball to him in the middle of the box.
100th min.: With FIFA president Gianni Infantino in the stands, the fans get a PA warning about the homophobic chant.
98th min.: You might have noticed that the ‘keeper Turner is now wearing the captain’s armband for the USA. Apparently Acosta handed it off to Turner before extra time kicked off.
93rd min.: What a chance for Mexico’s Funes Mori! He lofts a ball over the bar with Matt Turner off his line. But he’s bailed out by the offside flag. It wouldn’t have counted.
91st min.: USA starts the extra time with the high press and it results in a turnover that leads to a couple of corners. But the deliveries weren’t that great from Kellyn Acosta, who has otherwise had a great game in central midfield.
91st min.: SUB – Mexico brings on left back Osvaldo Rodriguez in place of Tecatito Corona. The USA will be glad to see Corona off the field. Jesus Gallardo moves up the field from left back and becomes the left winger.
End of Regulation: USA 0, Mexico 0
End of Regulation: The USA has grown into the match and it’s been the better team in the second half. Mexican players are looking uneasy with the way this match is unfolding.
91st min.: Excellent play from the USA, Roldan cross from the right and Gioacchini lays off the ball to Busio who fires high from 25 yards out.
90th min.: Moments after fans wanted a hand ball called on Cristian Roldan in the U.S. box (no whistle from the ref), a pitch invader interrupts play. Three minutes of stoppage time coming.
86th min.: SUBS – With an eye toward extra time, the USA brings on two subs: Gianluca Busio for Eryk Williamson and Nicholas Gioacchini for Paul Arriola. The captain’s armband goes to Kellyn Acosta.
80th min.: However this ends up, credit to the USA for making this an even game against a stronger Mexico side. The Americans have been the better team in the second half.
76th min.: SUBS – El Tri brings on Rodolfo Pizarro for Orbelin Pineda and Erick Gutierrez for midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos.
74th min.: Great chance for the USA on the set piece. Mexico ‘keeper Talavera has to make the point-blank save on an Arriola shot at the doorstep.
72nd min.: First yellow card of the match to Mexico’s Hector Herrera, who puts a high boot into the head of Eryk Williamson. Bizarre play. Set piece for the USA.
71st min.: Another great look for the USA, but a diving block by Edson Alvarez thwarts Hoppe’s shot on goal. Corner kick for the USA, but the ball is cleared.
69th min.: Mexican center back Salcedo is stripped of the ball near his own box and Hoppe fires a shot after the turnover which is blocked for a corner. Nothing comes of it.
68th min.: Dangerous cross from the fresh sub Cristian Roldan, but the ball is too high for both Zardes and Hoppe in the box.
65th min.: SUBS – The fullbacks are replaced. Shaq Moore in for Reggie Cannon at right back and Sam Vines for George Bello on the left. Cristian Roldan replaces Sebastian Lletget in central midfield. And with the change in central midfield, Roldan goes to the right of Kellyn Acosta, and Williamson plays to the left
63rd min.: So Arriola and Hoppe have switched sides for the USA. Arriola had one run into the box from the left. Hoppe has been quiet. Subs are coming for the USA.
60th min.: Gyasi Zardes alone against the goalkeeper! And he puts it wide right, but the assistant referee raises the flag for offside. Had he scored it and the VAR had to look at it, there was a chance it would’ve counted.
52nd min.: Mexico is all over the USA! A cross from Chaka Rodriguez on the right and Pineda’s flying deflection is off target. Another decent look.
50th min.: Arriola doesn’t have the worst miss of the game any more. That belongs to Orbelin Pineda who did all the hard work to set up a shot in the box, but then fires it wide left and doesn’t get it on target with a wide open look.
49th min.: Funes Mori with a run along the end line but his attempt at a cross doesn’t find a teammate. That could’ve been real danger for the USA.
46th min.: What a look for the USA to start the match. Sebastian Lletget can’t latch onto the through ball.
46th min.: Second half underway. No changes.
Halftime: USA 0, Mexico 0
Halftime: The first half has gone as predicted. Mexico is pushing numbers forward and creating chances, with goalkeeper Matt Turner coming up big with a few saves. But the USA is gritty and committed with its defending and the Americans are getting opportunities on the break. Paul Arriola had the best opportunity of the half as a result of high pressing by the USA and he will be disappointed to not have done better with it.
0-0 halftime stats:
Shots: MEX 12, USA 4
xG: MEX 0.97, USA 0.54
Pass%: MEX 83%, USA 70%
Duel win%: MEX 66%, USA 34%
Ball recoveries: MEX 32, USA 26
Best chances: Funes Mori 0.32 xG (31st min), Arriola 0.31 (26th), Funes Mori 0.13 (34th), Arriola 0.09 (45+5).
— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) August 2, 2021
50th+ min.: On the last play of the first half, Williamson springs Arriola with a great ball into space on the left, but Arriola’s left-footed shot (not his preferred foot) is weak and wide.
46th+ min.: In stoppage time Mexico’s Edson Alvarez fires a shot that’s deflected by USA’s Kellyn Acosta for a corner. Nothing comes of it.
41st min.: Mexico captain Hector Moreno can’t continue and former Real Salt Lake center back Carlos Salcedo, who controversially missed a penalty in the Canada semifinal, is getting ready to come in.
40th min.: Mexican players wanted another penalty call in the box for a hand ball on Reggie Cannon. The ball does go off Cannon’s arm while he was on the ground, but that was incidental.
38th min.: OK, this is a personal battle between Turner and Funes Mori. The Mexican forward fires another shot, but Turner stops it.
34th min.: Chance for Funes Mori in the middle of the box, but his first-time shot goes wide after the Gallardo cross from the left. The Mexican fullbacks are pushing way up the field.
31st min.: Another big save by Matt Turner! Funes Mori easily turns James Sands in the box and fires a shot from a tight angle off Turner’s knee at the near post.
26th min.: What a miss by Paul Arriola. The U.S. winger was alone against the goalkeeper in the box after Sebastian Lletget stripped Edson Alvarez of the ball. Big missed opportunity for the USA, off the outside of the right post.
21st min.: Funes Mori goes down in the box again! This time it was in a battle for the ball against Miles Robinson, who had his arms extended, but there was no push. He was just shielding the ball. And the referee has a talk with Funes Mori about these dives.
18th min.: Mexico left back Jesus Gallardo with a ball that goes across the face of the goal all the way to the Mexico right back, who wins a corner. The header on the set piece is right at goalkeeper Matt Turner.
15th min.: After a long delay, Williamson is back on the field and the fans start the “Ole” on every Mexico pass. Pretty sure your team needs to be in the lead before you can do that.
12th min.: U.S. midfielder Eryk Williamson on the ground getting treatment after taking a ball to the head.
11th min.: On the ensuing corner, US ‘keeper Turner makes a diving save on a header by Funes Mori.
11th min.: Wow. That looked like a penalty kick that should’ve been awarded to Mexico. George Bello with the high arm in an unnatural position to block a Mexico cross. The officials don’t call it! USA got away with one there.
10th min.: We’re 10 minutes in and the USMNT has had a few giveaways in midfield, but the Americans have held up. As the minutes go by, the USA is seemingly dropping deeper on each attack.
2nd min.: Mexico fans wanted a penalty for Rogelio Funes Mori going down in the box on a challenge from goalkeeper Matt Turner. But that was a dive. Great no-call by the ref.
1st min.: It’s a go. USMNT pressing right out of the gates.
8:57 p.m.: The place is absolutely jam-packed:
8:54 p.m.: National anthem time. Mexico’s is first.
8:52 p.m.: Here’s tonight’s prize:
8:28 p.m.: It’s going to essentially be a Mexico home game:
— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) August 2, 2021
8:21 p.m.: On DraftKiings, the USA is at +135 to win the Gold Cup, Mexico the favorite at -165:
Mexico starts seven players who also started the Nations League final to the #USMNT ’s one.
Tonight might be El Tri’s best chance to beat the ?? in a final for the next decade-plus.
— Doug McIntyre (@ByDougMcIntyre) August 2, 2021
7:35 p.m.: It’s USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter’s birthday today (48 years young):
7:33 p.m.: A little taste of the atmosphere, well over one hour before kick:
5:46 p.m.: This place is going to be rocking:
USA vs. Mexico starting lineups
Plenty of changes for the USMNT’s lineup against Mexico: Gyasi Zardes gets the start over Daryl Dike; fullbacks Reggie Cannon and George Bello come in for Shaq Moore and Sam Vines; and Eryk Williamson is in the starting XI over Gianluca Busio in midfield.
On the Mexico side, Tata Martino opted for central defender Nestor Araujo over Carlos Salcedo, probably because the latter can be prone to a mistake or red card. The last thing Mexico wants to do is to give the USA any advantage. Also, Martino preferred Jonathan Dos Santos over Erick Gutierrez in midfield, alongside central midfield fixtures Hector Herrera and Edson Alvarez. Dos Santos started the last two matches against Canada and Honduras.
Starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Matt Turner-GK — 21-George Bello, 12-Miles Robinson, 16-James Sands, 2-Reggie Cannon — 17-Sebastian Lletget, 23-Kellyn Acosta, 19-Eryk Williamson — 13-Matthew Hoppe, 9-Gyasi Zardes, 7-Paul Arriola (capt.)
Substitutes: 18-Sean Johnson-GK, 22-Brad Guzan-GK, 4-Donovan Pines, 3-Sam Vines, 20-Shaq Moore, 24-Henry Kessler, 10-Cristian Roldan, 14-Jackson Yueill, 6-Gianluca Busio, 8-Nicholas Gioacchini, 11-Daryl Dike, 15-Jonathan Lewis
Starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Alfredo Talavera-GK — 23-Jesus Gallardo, 15-Hector Moreno (capt.), 2-Nestor Araujo, 21-Luis Rodriguez — 16-Hector Herrera, 4-Edson Alvarez, 6-Jonathan Dos Santos — 10-Orbelin Pineda, 11-Rogelio Funes Mori, 17-Jesus “Tecatito” Corona
Subs: 12-Rodolfo Cota-GK, 20-Jonathan Orozco-GK, 3-Carlos Salcedo, 5-Osvaldo Rodriguez, 8-Kevin Alvarez, 19-Gilberto Sepulveda, 7-Erick Sanchez, 14-Erick Gutierrez, 13-Alan Cervantes, 24-Rodolfo Pizarro, 18-Efrain Alvarez, 9-Alan Pulido
How to watch USA vs. Mexico Gold Cup Final
- Date: Sunday, August 1, 2021
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: FS1
- Spanish-language TV: TUDN, Univision
- Streaming: fuboTV , Fox Sports app, TUDN app, TUDN.tv
- In Canada: OneSoccer.ca
The Gold Cup final from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will be broadcast on FS1 (English) and Univision and TUDN (Spanish). All three networks can be streamed on fuboTV (free 7-day trial) . The match can also be streamed on the Fox Sports app, TUDN app and TUDN.tv, but only for authenticated subscribers.
OneSoccer.ca will carry the CONCACAF regional championship in Canada.