Team USA holds the Concacaf Gold Cup after winning the final against Mexico Las Vegas, Nevada on Aug. 1, 2021
Just like the June final of the Concacaf Nations League between the U.S. and Mexico, Sunday night’s Concacaf Gold Cup final in Las Vegas needed more than 90 minutes to be decided.
And again, it was a goal late in extra time that gave the U.S. a victory over its biggest rival.
Miles Robinson, playing in just his ninth game in a U.S. shirt, was the hero this time. Off a free kick in a scoreless game in the 117th minute, Robinson soared above the Mexico defense, heading the ball down to the turf where it bounced past keeper Alfredo Talavera and into the goal. The U.S. was able to see out the final few minutes and clinch its seventh Gold Cup title, just one shy of Mexico for the most since the first Gold Cup in 1991.
“I don’t know really what happened,” an ecstatic Robinson said after the game on the television broadcast. “I’m still like awesome, crazy, getting some crazy emotions, but I’m happy we got the W. That’s all I can say.”
It was the third international goal for Robinson, one among many players on the U.S. roster with limited international experience. Just four players returned from the team that won the Nations League title as U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter selected a team of mostly domestic based players to evaluate depth ahead of World Cup qualifying. It was an opportunity for players to earn some consideration for future playing time, such as keeper Matt Turner, who allowed just a single goal and was named Best Goalkeeper of the tournament. Other standouts included Robinson, striker Daryl Dike and defender James Sands.
It was the first time the U.S. beat Mexico in the Gold Cup final since 2007. The U.S. is now 20-5-6 against their archrival since 2000, and their run of meetings in big matches isn’t ending anytime soon. The U.S. will host Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in November in Cincinnati, then will travel to Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium in March for the return leg.