The U.S. manager reflected on an improbable Gold Cup run from a young group not expected to hoist the trophy
U.S. men’s national team boss Gregg Berhalter admitted that he really wanted to see his players rewarded by winning Sunday’s Gold Cup as he hailed his “relentless” young team for finding a way to take down Mexico.
A late goal from Miles Robinson in extra time earned the 1-0 victory, giving the USMNT its second statement win over its top rivals this summer.
Having called in a squad without many of the program’s European stars, the USMNT wasn’t expected to go toe-to-toe with El Tri, but Berhalter said he always knew his young squad had what it took to emerge with a trophy.
What did Berhalter say?
“We were together for a month, and we just saw them growing,” Berhalter said. “We saw the team growing, we saw individuals growing and improving, we saw the team chemistry growing. Before the final today, there was a feeling inside of me that I just wanted it so bad for them so they can taste this and they can win a trophy together.
“I’m really proud of the group, really proud of their resiliency, and, when you look at the game today, we did not stop. It was relentless from us, and that was a mark of a good team.”
Berhalter, who was celebrating his 48th birthday on Sunday, helped the U.S. take down El Tri once again, following up on a Nations League win over Mexico back in June.
As a result, the U.S. will go into World Cup qualifying on a high, knowing that it has had two different squads beat its biggest rivals.
“It was the best birthday gift I could have gotten. I’m really proud of the guys but it wasn’t for me; it was more for the players.
“I’m so excited for them so proud of them. I really wanted it badly for this group and we had a fantastic group in the Nations League that was able to win a trophy and to turn around and do it again with this group is a big accomplishment.
“I can’t say enough about their spirit and their hard work and their dedication.”
What’s next for the USMNT?
The U.S. will only have about a month to celebrate the Gold Cup triumph before the start of World Cup qualifiers.
Berhalter and Co. are set to open up with a trip to El Salvador on September 2 before hosting Canada in Nashville three days later.
The squad will finish out the first round on Sept. 8 with a trip to San Pedro Sula to face Honduras.