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Kellyn Acosta free-kick gives USMNT the 2021 Gold Cup win over Mexico

Young Yanks defeat Mexico in sold-out Las Vegas. Now set their sights on punching their tickets Qatar.

Soccer: CONCACAF Gold Cup Socce-USA at Mexico Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Rapids and U..S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) midfielder Kellyn Acosta is the only senior team player to appear in all 13 games for the USMNT since the start of 2021. His performances to date have been worthy of that admirable distinction. He has earned praise for his workhorse ethic, box-to-box, sideline-to-sideline play, and in-your-face dominance within his extended boundaries of the midfield.

And on Sunday night, in Las Vegas’ brand-new Allegiant Stadium, Acosta delivered another brilliant showing. In a tense, back-and-forth Gold Cup Final with arch-nemesis Mexico, Acosta’s grand finale took place in the 117th minute of play before 65,000 patriotic fans.

With the score, 0-0, Acosta lined up on the left side of the pitch, about 25 yards from the goal line. He calmly whipped in a made-for-television highlights set-piece that found the forehead of Miles Robinson, who was in the center of a lineup of Mexican and American players racing to meet the incoming ball.

Acosta had been manning both corner kicks and those from the pitch all night, and this time he found his target. An outstretched Robinson greeted Acosta’s ball and sent it into the net for the winning goal. Acosta took the kick after his teammate and late substitute, Nicholas Gioacchini, was fouled by Mexico’s Edson Alvarez, who earned a yellow card for his harsh infringement.

Minutes later, the referee whistled three times and the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Champions celebrated with a massive Stars and Stripes pile-up at the corner flag. This is the second Gold Cup Championship that Acosta has won with his USMNT teammates.

Team USA now has bragging rights from toppling Mexico twice this summer — first in Denver’s Nations Cup finale and again in Las Vegas. It’s the seventh Gold Cup title for the USA and their first since 2017.

The team went undefeated in this tournament During a recent press conference before their opening match against Haiti, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter stated, “When we were looking at both the Gold Cup and the Nations League, we were thinking about one big roster picture, not two separate rosters, The idea was to prepare our entire player pool in a competitive Concacaf format for World Cup qualifying. He added, “When you look at this roster, it’s basically another group of players that’s going to get the opportunity to compete to win a trophy. By the end of this tournament, we’re going to have virtually the entire player pool prepared for World Cup qualifying.”

The U.S. will now regroup and refocus its sights on making it through the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers that commence in September.

To qualify, the Yanks will need to leverage all of its depth and run the table with wins in the seven-month 2021-2022 Concacaf Octagonal, which will continue through March 2022. The new format includes more games over a condensed timeframe.

Colorado Rapids fans should expect both Kellyn Acosta, Sam Vines, Jonathan Lewis, and Auston Trusty to be strong candidates to make the team.