PARADISE, Nev. — It was less than an hour after the U.S. men’s national team trounced Mexico that Captain America felt the need to offer a reminder. Jerseys will still soaked in sweat, and emotions were still boiling, when Christian Pulisic sensed that the mood was creeping a bit too high. “Three, f***ing, zero. That’s amazing,” interim head coach B.J. Callaghan had emphasized to a locker-room full of triumphant players. But it was only a semifinal, so a shirtless Pulisic spoke up.
“Be humble with it, guys,” Pulisic interjected. “Enjoy it tonight, enjoy it tonight, but we’re here to win the final. We’re here to beat Canada.”
That is what they will try to do Sunday night against their other regional rivals, in the 2023 CONCACAF Nations League final (9:06 p.m. ET, Paramount+/Univision). On Thursday, they made their “f***ing statement,” as Pulisic had requested. On Sunday, they’ll go in search of another trophy — and Canada will go in search of its first in over two decades.
The USMNT will be short-handed, without Weston McKennie and Sergiño Dest, who are both suspended after red cards against Mexico. Canada will be confident, having beaten and drawn the U.S. in World Cup qualifying, and having finished atop the CONCACAF table.
“I think we’ve earned the respect of everyone in this region,” Canadian defender Alistair Johnston said Saturday. “But now, it’s time that we start lifting trophies to show to everyone, and to ourselves, and our fan base back home, that we’re a team that’s for real.”
But the USMNT, the reigning kings of CONCACAF, will have their say.
Follow the match between the USMNT and Canada below with our live tracker: