The inaugural CONCACAF Nations League Championship matchup between the U.S. and Mexico will be remembered for an entertaining match led by a young American squad, including Gio Reyna and Christian Pulisic, that pulled off a 3-2 overtime victory and captured the first-ever trophy.
While the action on the pitch was exciting, those watching at home will also remember the night for an inappropriate comment made by a former U.S. Men’s National Team star and a crazed fan storming the set during the broadcast and jumping over a ledge and frighteningly falling out of sight, forcing viewers to speculate on his fate.
U.S. outlasts Mexico in exciting match highlighted by American youth
The United States vs. Mexico, even in a friendly, always includes some extra tension with the two neighboring countries fighting for North American superiority. Sunday night’s championship match between the clubs in the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League tournament proved to be no different, and Mexico didn’t waste any time making its mark on the contest, scoring a goal in the second minute for an early 1-0 advantage.
The Americans and their youth movement responded. In the 28th minute, 18-year-old Gio Reyna found himself in the right place at the right time and scored on a rebound off the post from a corner kick to tie up the score. Both teams scored in the second half, but the main story was the departure of the U.S. starting goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who sustained a knee injury.
Enter Ethan Horvath. Horvath stepped in and made several big saves in the half, and in the overtime, he came up clutch and etched his name in American soccer lore. After Christian Pulisic gave the Americans the lead on a penalty kick in the first overtime period, Horvath stepped up and made a diving save on a penalty kick by Mexican captain Andres Guardado in the second overtime to preserve the lead and the win for the Americans.
Crazed fan storms set during U.S.-Mexico broadcast and jumps over railing, falling below
After full time and before the start of overtime, the broadcast shifted to the stage set up inside the stadium where Kate Abdo talked about the match with three former USMNT members: Oguchi Onyewu, Clint Dempsey, and Charlie Davies.
Onyewu had just finished talking about how the match was entertaining and exactly what fans had hoped to see when the camera started shaking and shouting could be heard off-camera. Suddenly, a man appeared and ran directly behind Abdo and Onyewu with a security person following close behind. Security failed to catch the fan because he jumped over the railing, falling an unknown distance below.
Based on Dempsey’s eyes, it wasn’t a short distance as he calmly looked almost straight down to where the man had fallen.
“Wow! Sorry, everybody,” Abdo apologized. “Something going on behind us.” After joking with the players about no one coming to her defense, Abdo calmly resumed the conversation about the match.
Onyewu threatens to choke woman during broadcast
While the crazed fan storming the set provided for a few tense moments, it wasn’t the only time during the night where the broadcast itself made headlines. During the pregame, Onyewu got into a discussion with women’s Mexican star Janelly Farias, when he took his trash-talking to another level.
“I will come across the desk and choke you,” Onyewu told Farias. After the match concluded, Farias returned to the set and Onyewu issued an apology.
“Early in the show, throughout our banter back and forth, I got carried away for sure, and I said a stupid thing,” Onyewu admitted. “That should have never come out of my mouth, and I am deeply sorry for it, and I apologize to you, and I hope that you can forgive me. Don’t take any offense to it. I just really wanted to sincerely apologize for what I said.”
The pair fist-bumped, and Farias accepted his apology.
It was an interesting ending to an entertaining night that featured an awkward moment and a frightening moment with an exciting U.S. overtime win over Mexico sandwiched in between.