U.S. collects Gold Cup with dramatic extra-time winner against Mexico
Robinson's header earned his country's seventh Gold Cup following an eventful and admittedly scrappy showpiece in Las Vegas. It also upset the odds in the gambling city after head coach Gregg Berhalter relied on backup players for much of the tournament run.
Matt Turner and Rogelio Funes Mori had their own first-half duel. Funes Mori tried to draw a penalty from Turner when he easily went to ground in the second minute before the goalkeeper thwarted three big openings for the Argentine-born Mexico striker. Funes Mori also screwed a shot well wide of Turner's goal, but his hold-up play was crucial to Mexico's dangerous attacks.
But the first period's best opportunity fell to Paul Arriola. It was a gift: a loose touch in the Mexican backline was preyed upon by Sebastian Lletget, who then slipped the ball to an unmarked Arriola. The D.C. United star wasted the chance, jabbing the ball to Alfredo Talavera's left and striking the base of the post.
Orbelin Pineda had two clear sights of goal early in the second half, including a wayward effort from around four yards out, while the U.S. threatened twice through Matthew Hoppe as the match entered its final 20 minutes. And just when the rivalry seemed to lack its usual rancor, Hector Herrera drew a yellow card when his boot collided with Eryk Williamson's head.
Talavera somehow kept out a close-range Arriola shot when his back was turned and, from then on, the teams took turns upfield. The game grew messier. At times, the players' first touches belonged to the spring-loaded contraptions in pinball machines rather than the feet of professional footballers. Composure and artistry had given way to calamity and anxiety. It was the joyful chaos we've come to expect when these great foes meet.
An additional 30 minutes was needed to try to separate them. Passes were awry and shots lost their venom as bodies tired. However, the USMNT actively sought its fifth 1-0 victory of the tournament while Mexico became more measured in its approach and appeared happiest for the game to go to penalties.
But the U.S. ultimately won 1-0 and beat Mexico in extra time of another final after June's Nations League success. Acosta was a rock in midfield for his country, but he contributed on the other side of the ball when he delivered his excellent set-piece toward Robinson.
"I don't know really what happened. I'm still like, awesome, crazy ... some crazy emotions," an elated Robinson told Fox Sports after the match. "But I'm happy we got the W. That's all I can say."
He added: "We were focusing a lot on set-pieces. I knew if I could get open and get a half-step I could finish one, and Kellyn's put a perfect ball in so I had to finish it."
Robinson and many others in Berhalter's roster have now made strong cases to spearhead the USMNT's bid for World Cup qualification later this year.