In the mix of all the celebrating, after a remarkable come from behind victory by the United States over Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League Final 3-2, there were incidents that soured that celebration.
First of all, as the teams were playing out the final minutes of the match at various instances debris such as bottles, paper, coins, were thrown at the USMNT players. One object hit Gio Reyna in the head, and other objects were thrown at Reggie Cannon, Christian Pulisic, and even hit a Mexican player in the head near the end of the game.
When the final whistle blew and the USMNT had celebrated on the field, as some of the players began to post pictures on social media, Mark McKenzie had to take to Instagram stories to expose the conduct of a few: "The amount of racial abuse and personal attacks on myself and family from 'supporters' and 'non supporters' just ain't it,"
Mark McKenzie racially abused on social media
The USMNT and Genk defender was a starter in the Nations League final, and it was not his best outing, being called for a handball that led to the miraculous save by Ethan Horvath to keep the game in the U.S.’s favor. At the start of the game, seconds into the match the young defender gave the ball away for Mexico’s opening goal.
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter was firm on his stance on the issue: "It has no place in sport. The guys that in our business, professional sports, you take enough criticism about performance and about guys having an off game and saying you're not a good player or something like that… And to bring something like race into it is absolutely disgusting and out of bounds and there is no place for it."
The national team manager went on to state “we support Mark 100% and we don't stand for any of that stuff. We have absolutely zero tolerance for things like that."
The game has unfortunately made waves for things that happened outside the field, an anti-gay slur was heard at various points of the match, something Concacaf and the USSF is working hard to get rid of. There were also moments of just sheer fan stupidity, from fans running onto the field to a fan running away from security and jumping onto the crowd on live television.
The incidents did not diminish the USMNT first trophy under the sometimes under fire Gregg Berhalter. The “Golden Generation” of American soccer player dug deep to get a dramatic win and it is the first in a long road of tough games to come for the USMNT. For Mark McKenzie it was his third title in the last 2 years.