Pulisic strikes twice to power United States past Mexico
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Pulisic strikes twice to power United States past Mexico

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada Christian Pulisic scored two goals to help power the United States to a 3-0 triumph over Mexico in the semifinals of the 2022-23 Concacaf Nations League Finals on Thursday night at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It is the second straight win for the U.S. against their long-time rivals in CNL play and extends the U.S.’s overall unbeaten streak against Mexico to six games, with four wins and two draws.

The U.S. advance to Sunday’s Final to face northern neighbors Canada, while Mexico will take on Panama in the Third Place Match.

The first big chance of the contest came midway through the first half in the 23’ on a solo run from Pulisic that saw the U.S. attacker evade a pair of Mexico defenders only to shoot over the crossbar with Mexico GK Guillermo Ochoa well off his line.

Pulisic would come correct at the second time of asking, though, by pouncing on a loose ball in the Mexico area and sweeping in a left-footed finish past Ochoa for a 1-0 U.S. lead in the 37’.

The momentum stayed with the U.S. to start the second half and just one minute after the re-start the scoreline read 2-0 to the U.S., as Timothy Weah swung a cross into the area from the right wing that met the charging foot of Pulisic, who redirected the ball into net.

Mexico looked to get back to within a goal and started to put more pressure on the U.S. defense, including on a Luis Chavez free kick that almost connected with the head of Edson Alvarez in front of the U.S. goal in the 62’.

A red card for Mexico’s Cesar Montes and Weston McKennie of the U.S. in the 69’ then left each side with 10 men for the final 20-plus minutes.

Mexico twice came within a whisker of getting a goal in the 75’ and then again in the 76’, first on an Ozziel Herrera header that was saved by U.S. GK Matt Turner, and the second when Uriel Antuna missed wide with Turner off his line.

The U.S. took full advantage of Mexico’s missed chances and extended the lead to 3-0 in the 79’ when Sergino Dest found Ricardo Pepi, who rounded Ochoa and slotted home for the goal.

Despite a late sending off for Dest, the U.S. hung on the rest of the way to secure the clean sheet win and a spot in Sunday’s Final.