Christian Pulisic made a dig at Guillermo Ochoa, Mexico's goalkeeper, by wearing a shirt that said "man in mirror" after Friday's 2-0 win in a World Cup qualifying game -- a reference Ochoa's comments that the USMNT wanted to "mirror its soccer image" after El Tri.
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Minutes after coming off the bench, Pulisic scored the goal that put the United States in the lead with a quick header. Just before full-time, Weston McKennie scored from close range to give the Americans their third consecutive win over CONCACAF counterparts Mexico.
Ochoa stated earlier this week that Mexico is "the mirror in which [the U.S.] wants see itself and wants copy," prompting Gregg Berhalter, U.S. coach, to reply that "it shows that there are still a lot of steps to take to earn the respect of Mexico."
The final word was given by Chelsea star Pulisic, with the team’s social media account even reference to the Michael Jackson song.
If you want to make the world a better,
take a look at yourself then make the change... pic.twitter.com/ST7fa1e3hr -- U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) November 13, 2021
Pulisic, after the win at Cincinnati's TQL stadium, said that he was happy to help his team win the game. "To get the first goal was huge. We were so happy today with that performance."
Pulisic attempted to downplay the shirt when he spoke to reporters after the match.
He said, "I think you guys understand the message, but I don't want too much to speak on it, it'sn't a big deal, not trying to create controversy,"
Then he said, "I actually wrote that in the mirror," before claiming it was written for him by another person.
CONCACAF table GP PTS GD 1 - USA 7 14 +7 2 - Mexico 7 14 +5 3 - Canada 7 13 +7 4 - Panama 7 11 +1 5 - Costa Rica 7 6 -2 6 - Jamaica 7 6 -4 7 - El Salvador 7 6 -5 8 - Honduras 7 3 -9 1-3 qualifies; 4 into playoff
Timothy Weah, a U.S. winger, said that he and DeAndre Yedlin had the idea for Pulisic’s shirt.
Weah stated, "Just to send out a message." "Before the match, Mexico was talking a lot. We must continue to win games and beat them to shut them down. This is the only way to win their respect and gain the respect of the entire world.
There were many tensions between the players of the two teams. Mexico received two yellow cards while the U.S. received four. Two went to Miles Robinson, the U.S. defender. Miles Robinson will miss the U.S.'s next match against Jamaica. McKennie will also be absent against the Reggae Boyz due to yellow card accumulation.
Berhalter stated, "We fiercely dislike Mexico’s soccer team, right? And we're fierce rivals and we want to lose every time we play on the field," making it a point to differentiate Mexico's team and its people. "Afterwards you shake hands and move on. They have a lot to be respected.
After two victories in the Nations League finals and the Gold Cup finals, this victory is the third consecutive win for the USMNT against Mexico.
The win means that the United States and Mexico have now 14 points each to be at the top of the CONCACAF standings for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Mexico has a two-point advantage in goal differential.
Ochoa stated after the game that it was a complicated and intense game. He said, "I think we had our chances during the first half, but we didn't finish them, and we ended paying for it."
Gerardo "Tata” Martino, Mexico manager, said that it was a difficult defeat, but that his team still has a lot to win on the road to Qatar.
He said, "We are playing in a World Cup qualifying. This isn't an individual head-to-head with the United States." I understand the importance and rivalry of this match and three consecutive defeats against an adversary that all Mexicans want to beat is unacceptable. We need to make sure that we are able to qualify again.
Mexico will be back next week in action against Canada in Edmonton.
This report was contributed by The Associated Press.