USA-Mexico Men's Gold Cup Final Player Ratings

Aug. 1 in Las Vegas
USA 1 Mexico 0 (OT) Goal: M.Robinson 117.
Att.: 61,514.
* * * * * * * * * *

Coach Gregg Berhalter's young, mostly MLS-based players lifted the 2021 Gold Cup with a 1-0 overtime over Mexico. El Tri dominated most of the game -- 64% possession; 22 to 14 shots -- but failed to score thanks much to strong defending by the likes of Miles Robinson, who also scored the gamewinner.


USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)


Matt Turner made an impressive full-stretch diving save on Rogelio Funes Mori's 12-yard header off a corner kick. Turner's battle with Funes Mori started in the 2nd minute when the keeper's heavy touch on a back pass nearly created a chance. Turner blocked a narrow-angle, 1-yard shot from Funes Mori with his thigh and made a diving save on an 18-yard shot with a moderate degree of difficult. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Matt Turner (New England Revolution) 7/0 (27)


Miles Robinson did about every besides hand out game programs. He made tackles, won headers, helped out left back George Bello cope with Mexico's crafty wingers, passed sensibly -- and scored the gamewinner. Central defender James Sands had a couple lowlights, like when he lost the ball to Orbelín Pineda near the corner flag in the 48th minute (Robinson stepped in to prevent Jesus Corona from shooting into an open net.) But Sands interfered in a slew of of El Tri attacks. Reggie Cannon limited Mexico to ineffective deliveries from his flank.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR) 21/1 (23)

James Sands (New York City FC) 6/0 (21)

Miles Robinson (Atlanta United) 9/3 (24)

George Bello (Atlanta United) 3/0 (19)


Kellyn Acosta won more balls in midfield by at least twice as much as anyone else on the field, which was very important because the U.S. backline needed breaks between the waves of Mexican attacks. While the central midfielder's contributions were limited to defensive toil for most of the game, he delivered the assist from a free kick on the game-winner after a tournament in which the U.S. service on set pieces was lacking. Eryk Williamson too spent most of his time defending, had trouble winning the ball cleanly -- four fouls compared to two by Acosta, who spent 33 more minutes on the field -- and was subbed a few minutes after one of his midfield ball losses created a Mexico chance, but he also played several penetrating balls to test the nervous Mexico backline. Sebastian Lletget struggled to make an offensive impact.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers) 4/0 (24)

Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids) 37/2 (26)

Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy) 29/7 (28)


In the first half, Paul Arriola hit the outside of the post from 11 yards and missed way wide from 18 yards when he had time to get closer. Arriola, who struggled one-on-one, did beat Néstor Araujo with a slick nutmeg, but then passed to a Mexican player. Better was when he robbed Carlos Salcedo at the edge of the penalty area in the 69th minute and set up a Matthew Hoppe shot, which was deflected for the second of the USA's six corner kicks. (Mexico had seven of its 11 corner kicks by then.) Gyasi Zardes shot wide in the 60th minute while one-on-one with Alfredo Talavera. (The flag went up, but if Zardes had hit the net, VAR would likely have over-ruled the AR.) Zardes whiffed on a 71st-minute Arriola cross. In the 74th minute, he tripped over the ball after Acosta's free kick cross hit him in the in the belly and Arriola blasted the ball into the head of a prone Talavera. It was a most peculiar sequence of back-to-back misses in the goal area, yet the chances signaled that the USA was picking up momentum and was capable of putting Mexico on its heels. Hoppe took a game-high (for both teams) six shots without forcing a save. It could have been fatigue from all the defending he did in the U.S. half.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Paul Arriola (D.C. United) 38/8 (26)

Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew) 62/13 (29)

Matthew Hoppe (Schalke 04/GER) 5/1 (20)


Cristian Roldan set up a Zardes chance and, as Gianluca Busio would do with his later arrival, brought fresh legs into a game in which the USA looked fitter than the Mexicans for the final hour. Sam Vines and Shaq Moore continued to contain the Mexican wingers when they entered as outside backs. Nicholas Gioacchini was fouled for the free kick that led to the gamewinner.  

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders) 24/0 (26)

Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids) 8/1 (22)

Shaq Moore (Tenerife/ESP) 11/1 (24)

Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA) 6/3 (21)

Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City) 6/0 (19)

NOTABLE: The USA won five of its six games at the Gold Cup, 1-0: vs. Haiti, Canada, Qatar, Jamaica and Mexico. The exception came with its 6-1 group-stage victory over Martinique.

Aug. 1 in Las Vegas
USA 1 Mexico 0 (OT) Goal: M.Robinson 117.
USA -- Turner; Cannon (Moore, 66), Sands, M.Robinson, Bello (Vines, 66); Williamson (Busio, 87) , Acosta, Lletget (Roldan, 66); Arriola (Gioacchini, 87), Zardes, Hoppe (Kessler, 120+1).
Mexico -- Talavera; L.Rodriguez, Araujo, Moreno (Salcedo, 44, Sepulveda, 105), Gallardo; Herrera, Edson Alvarez, J.dos Santos (Gutierrez, 76); Pineda (Pizzaro, 76), Funes Mori, Corona (O.Rodriguez, 90).
Yellow cards: USA -- Acosta 113; Mexico -- Herrera 72, Gallardo 114, Edson Alvarez 116.  Red cards: none.
Referee: Said Martinez (Honduras).
Att.: 61,514.

Shots: 14/22
Shots on target: 5/5
Saves: 5/4
Corner Kicks: 6/11
Fouls: 31/20
Offside: 1/4
Possession: 36%/64%
15 comments about "USA-Mexico Men's Gold Cup Final Player Ratings".
  1. Bob Ashpole, August 2, 2021 at 3:31 a.m.

    Today's win was more than could have been expected. But even better than the result was how the team played--in the best traditions of the US MNT.

    The only downside I saw was that the TV commentators tended to see this win as a sign of US dominance in CONCACAF. In the grand scheme of things World Cup qualifying is still job one, and this victory is good for bragging rights, but it does not make qualification any easier.

    Now is not the time to lose our mental focus.

  2. David Ruder replied, August 2, 2021 at 4:01 p.m.

    The play-by-play announcer was OK, a Brit would have been better, the other guy is a bore, ruins the game with his macro explanation with every miss-touch a player makes, like a U-10 team coach would during practice. I think the Soccer audience knows 95% of what's going on the field before he makes his unnecessary comments. Also, I usually agree with Mike Whtealla's excellent  game assessment of players game performance, except when he analyzed Matt Hoppe this time, Matt should have gotten a higher rating for his "iron man" over 120-minute
    end-to-end performance disrupting many a number of Mexican attacks, more than a forward should have to. When he did have the ball, he got more attention from Mexican defenders than the other forwards, creating space in other areas when he was able to pass the ball to an open player. He did get lose a few times in the 18 and make some strong shots on goal under heavy cover. I think this young man will play a big part in the US men's team's future.

  3. Santiago 1314, August 2, 2021 at 4:06 a.m.

    Cha-Ching.!!! .... 11s for Eveyone.!!!
    Congrats to Coach Ggg and Team.
    Any questions about What the "Spirit of '76" can do.???
    More In depth thoughts later, Just Savoring the moment.!!!
    USA, USA, USA.!!!
    (Cant wait to hear from some about, "It would have been better to Lose and Play BETTER...Eat S hitte.!!!)

  4. Sean Guillory replied, August 2, 2021 at 7:47 a.m.

    Agree 100% Santiago.  I am sure we are going to hear that if these guys played more like the great Dutch teams and all went through Ajax training they would play better.  Results are the only thing that matters in sports period!  

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, August 2, 2021 at 8:33 a.m.

    Sean, I think you misunderstand Santi. He has nothing against the Dutch or playing better soccer. He just is against anyone who doesn't give winning top priority. That puts him at odds with Dutch fans and others like them. In that respect Santi has a typical US view.

    Saying that results are "the only thing that matters in sports" is too extreme for me and for most participants in the game.

  6. Santiago 1314 replied, August 2, 2021 at 5:42 p.m.

    Yes Bob, Sean... I think at National Team(and PROFFESIONAL) WINNING Is The Bottom Line... Money is On The Line, Jobs are On the Line ... I would Love to see "The Beautiful Game" WIN, But since 1970, No one has been able to WIN the WC that way(maybe Argentina 86.???)... My Dream Teams are Holland 74 and Brazil 86... Ahhhhhh that they had Succeeded.!!!

  7. Alan Blackledge, August 2, 2021 at 9:16 a.m.

    When did the Dutch win the World Cup...?

  8. R2 Dad replied, August 2, 2021 at 12:06 p.m.

    This is not a serious question, but a serious answer might be the Dutch made it to two world cup finals in row, but were unable to win either. Ask Messi, Zlatan or Steve Mandanda if they believe winning a world cup final is the most important measure of sucess. One of them played on a team that won a World Cup final.

  9. Santiago 1314 replied, August 2, 2021 at 5:44 p.m.

    Touche R2

  10. John Polis, August 2, 2021 at 9:27 a.m.

    Nice win for USA and solid tournament for Berhalter. But let's hold off on the flag-waving for now. Lots in front of us with qualifying. 

  11. Frans Vischer, August 2, 2021 at 10:44 a.m.

    Agreed on not getting ahead of ourselves in regards to WC qualifying. But this loss will stick in the Mixicans" psyche. 2 final losses in a row, the 2nd to a B US team?! This hurts them, while giving the US players confidence, and the team some depth. 
    I am Dutch, and would prefer more possession play, but that requires confidence, and we are slowly building up a generation of players confident on the ball, with better soccer IQ.
    From this point on, American soccer has a skyhigh upside- with better things to come.
    Go USA!!!

  12. Kent James, August 2, 2021 at 12:16 p.m.

    Robinson and Acosta were the men of the match, with rarely a misstep and seeming to be everywhere.  Credit to GB for the way he used all the players on this team, and kept people feeling part of the team even when they weren't playing.  I was surprised to see him start Bello in such a high pressure, difficult role, but Bello was a tenacious defender and justified his selection.  I was also surprised when he chose to replace both Cannon and Bello, who had been doing well.  But this was clearly part of his plan, and helped energize the team just when the Mexicans appeared to be faltering.  

    I thought the forwards warranted slightly higher ratings (6s instead of 5s).  They all worked very hard on defense, pressuring the shaky Mexican back line.  Arriola's shot off the post was the right play, just off by a few inches.  Hoppe shot a couple of times when he should have passed, but clearly unsettled the Mexicans and I like his desire to go for goal.  Zardes held the ball well under pressure, and gave us an arial presence (especially on long balls out of the back) we'd been missing.

    Just as losses to Mexico don't mean we suck and have to change everthing we do, this win needs to be kept in perspective.  If the Mexicans could finish, the score could have been different (and on a different day, they will finish).  But the fact that players down on the depth chart could play this well at this level bodes well for our ability to play with anyone.  

  13. John Soares, August 2, 2021 at 1:53 p.m.

    If you did not enjoy this game... you don't appreciate soccer.
    What we missed in finesse we more than made up in speed, effort, and just plain grit.
    Mexico was better in all stats, except the one that matters most.
    Ok, go ahead and say it.
    It wasn't Mexico's A team... most were saying just a few days ago this was our C or D team.....  D beat B, I can live with that. won't happen, but  lay off Berhalter. At least till  the next game :)
    Turner got the golden glove... deserved MVP
    Ref did an outstanding job in controlling the game 

  14. Sam Bellin, August 2, 2021 at 2:26 p.m.

    Congratulations to all the US players and coaches.  Beating Mexico in 2 Finals in a month is a fantastic achievement!

     I thought it was a great game to watch.  Not the most technical play I've ever seen but fast, intense, competitive, physical without being overly rough or cynical, and full of action and suspense.

    Of course qualifying will be a long, tough road and nothing is guaranteed, but this summer really showed both the progress and potential of US Men's Soccer.  Keep it up boys -- you're doing your country proud!

  15. Bret Carroll, August 2, 2021 at 3:48 p.m.

    Has anyone compared Mexico's starting 11 last night vs their starting 11 in the Nations League final? I know several of their best U24s are with the Olympic squad but I'd love to see how the 2 lineups compare.
    I noted several comments regarding possession and having watched our teams for many moons I can tell you our best teams have always been counter-attacking teams ( i.e. not possession-based. 
    I actually went to an Ajax camp in 2019 for my U14 son and have always admired Holland; it's almost universal opinion they "won" the 1974 WC ( they were beaten 2-1 in the final by Germany). I seriously don't know if it's best for our program to try and play that way...

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications