Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The beautiful chaos of the USA-Mexico rivalry has returned

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The Concacaf Nations League final encapsulated the good, the bad and the ugly of a feud some believed had lost its bite

The final of the Concacaf Nations League did not have the most auspicious build-up.

Delayed for several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic – and awkwardly wedged between the end of many club seasons and the beginning of more noteworthy summer tournaments – the culmination of the newly-formed competition initially appeared to be something of a forced assignment. Coupled with both Mexico and the US limping into Sunday’s final with questionable performances in the semis a few days beforehand, there was also reason to believe that the championship game could prove to be a letdown.

Instead, what proceeded was an unforgettable (and at times controversial) contest in Denver’s Empower Field at Mile High.

Following a frenzied 130-plus minutes of soccer that included two contentious penalties, two intense halves of extra-time, a red card for Mexico manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino, fans throwing projectiles on the field, a fan running on to the field, fights between players, and back-up goalkeeper Ethan Horvath coming off the bench to secure the trophy for the Americans, it’s tough to pick the highlight (and, indeed, lowlight) of the chaotic 3-2 win for the USMNT.

First and foremost though, we have to discuss the sheer spectacle of it all.

The modern day USA-Mexico rivalry . . .

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