United States 2-0 Mexico (Mar 24, 2024) Game Analysis

The United States men’s national soccer team continued its dominance of the Concacaf Nations League — and its regional rivals Mexico — with a 2-0 win and a third title in a row in the competition at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday night.

Tyler Adams scored a first-half thunderbolt, and Giovanni Reyna added a second goal after the break with a difficult volley to give the U.S. the win with a famous “dos a cero” scoreline and a measure of redemption after an uninspired win over Jamaica in the semifinals of the Nations League on Thursday.

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“I’m not scoring goals like that all the time, but I’m happy I can hit one like that today,” said Adams, who was substitute at halftime as a precautionary measure.

Adams, who has just returned to playing with his club team Bournemouth, added: “I always get up for big games.”

The result sees Gregg Berhalter’s team retain its Nations League crown, having won the first two editions of the competition, in 2021 and 2023, and stretch its unbeaten run against Mexico to a record seven games.

Adams, making his first start for the U.S. in 475 days, turned the game on its head at the end of the first half, unleashing a stunning strike from distance to beat Guillermo Ochoa and give the Americans a narrow lead at halftime.

With Mexico fighting to get back in the game, Reyna pounced on a poor clearance in the penalty area and snapped off a volley that flew past Ochoa at his near post to double the U.S. lead.

Referee Drew Fischer halted the game shortly before full time then again in added time in line with Step 2 of Concacaf’s anti-discrimination protocol after an anti-gay chant was heard from the crowd repeatedly when U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner took his goal kicks.

Last year’s Nations League semifinal between the U.S. and Mexico in Las Vegas was ended about four minutes early because of chants from Mexican fans, who for years have directed a slur at opposing teams’ goalkeepers.

Troubled by a right hamstring injury that twice required surgery, Adams had not played for the U.S. since the 2022 World Cup before entering in the 63rd minute on Thursday then leaving in the 100th minute because of a minutes restriction.

UMSNT players celebrate after beating Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League final.
UMSNT players celebrate after beating Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League final.

He was limited to a single 21-minute club appearance between March 11, 2023, and this March 13, when he returned from the injury with a 20-minute stretch for Bournemouth against Luton Town in England’s Premier League.

Adams’ joined Josh Wolff as the only Americans in the past 40 years to score their first two goals against El Tri; Adams also scored in a friendly against Mexico in September 2018.

Still on a minutes limit, Adams was replaced by Johnny Cardoso at the start of Sunday’s second half.

Reyna, limited to one league start this season for Borussia Dortmund and Nottingham Forest, scored his eighth international goal. Christian Pulisic‘s cross was blocked by defender Johan Vásquez. The ball deflected off American forward Haji Wright back to Vásquez, who headed a clearance attempt. Reyna let the ball bounce and beat Ochoa to the near post from 16 yards.

Fischer initially awarded a penalty kick for a challenge by Antonee Robinson on Santiago Giménez shortly after the Reyna goal. But following a video review by Nicaragua’s Tatiana Guzmán, the head referee called off the foul and gave the forward a yellow card for simulation.

Berhalter made five changes from Thursday’s starting lineup in the 3-1 extra-time win against Jamaica, adding right back Sergiño Dest, central defender Tim Ream, midfielders Adams and Reyna, and forward Wright. They replaced Joe Scally, Miles Robinson, Yunus Musah, Malik Tillman and Folarin Balogun.

Mexico coach Jaime Lozano inserted right back Jorge Sánchez and forward Hirving Lozano for Julián Araujo and Julián Quiñones.

Both the United States and Mexico will now begin gearing up for this summer’s Copa America, which will be played in the U.S. from June 20 to July 14.

Jamaica beat Panama 1-0 in the third-place game on Dexter Lembikisa‘s 41st-minute goal.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.