The first edition of CONCACAF’s latest bit of manufactured tournament play, the Nations League, reaches its conclusion tonight in Denver, with Mexico taking on the United States in the final.
Mexico was favored heading into the match, as they should be; they’re the more talented team, with the more accomplished manager, and while the match is in the United States the away team has a much bigger representation in the stands at Mile High.
Gregg Berhalter set the USMNT up in a defensive-minded formation, with three center backs signaling an effort to grind the game out and try to control Mexico’s superior attacking talent.
That’s not a very original idea, of course, and there’s also a big flaw: if you do give up a goal early, you’re not really set up to do much to overcome it. But, hey, maybe the USMNT could lock things down for a while and make Berhalter’s suspect strategy look like the right choice.
Let’s check in on the action after about one minute, and…uh…welp.
Mexico take the lead 62 seconds into the @CNationsLeague Final 😳
— CBS Sports Golazo (@CBSSportsGolazo) June 7, 2021
It helps when you don’t make a pretty big defensive blunder and gift Mexico a chance, but here we are. There’s now a pretty good chance that Mexico simply puts this game away, despite the presence of players like Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna. But, hey, maybe Berhalter has the ability to unlock Mexico with some clever tactical adjustments and a wise usage of his substitutions.
Probably not, though.