The Concacaf Nations League trophy has only ever known one home, and it's staying put after the USMNT defeated Canada 2-0 on Sunday in Las Vegas to claim their most coveted prize of the summer.
Canada came into this one with genuine belief that they could claim their first continental crown since the 2000 Gold Cup, but the pressure is now on manager John Herdman after the Americans — led by the interim mind of B.J. Callaghan — nullified their talented attack and provided all the entertainment going the other way.
The Gold Cup starts in just six days, but we're already looking forward to the 2024 Copa América.
2023 Concacaf Nations League Final: USMNT player ratings vs Canada
3 stars of the game
#1. Gio Reyna
Well, in the first USMNT match since it was confirmed that Gregg Berhalter would return as manager, Gio Reyna played out of his goddamn mind. The universe is funny like that.
With two assists and one saucy dribble in the first half, the Demolition Man was iridescent in the opening 45.
You don't need a Danish set-piece guru when you've got players who can float corners on the wings of an angel.
Chris Richards becomes the first American to score their first goal for the USMNT in a final.Clutch. pic.twitter.com/7wyzG4Ueuy
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) June 19, 2023
The second assist was even better: a perfectly weighted and timed slip through to Folarin Balogun.
Gio's a liquid footballer.
Twinkle toes, Gio Reyna. pic.twitter.com/nzib95n0kQ
But his night was over at halftime after picking up a calf injury. Job done.
#2. Chris Richards
The mustachioed man got his first goal and then crashed another header off the crossbar. In defense, he did a phenomenal job on denying entry passes to Cyle Larin and monitoring Jonathan David as he tried to find space between the lines.
Excellent at both ends from start to finish.
Chris Richards was THAT close to a second goal. pic.twitter.com/SB19cumtNs
#3. B.J. Callaghan
What an incredible moment for the 41-year-old interim boss. The starting XI put Canada to the sword in the first half, and when the Canucks threatened to play themselves back into the match in the second 45, Callaghan made the necessary in-game changes (like switching to a back five) to keep the U.S. on top.
If he wins every match at the Gold Cup, he should get the Club América job.
2 who failed to shine
#1. Brenden Aaronson
Aaronson was a bold selection in the starting XI from a defensive perspective — taking over for the suspended Weston McKennie — but he fulfilled that duty admirably. Canada started the match by trying to attack him and Joe Scally's flank with Alphonso Davies, but the Bayern Munich winger was eventually switched to the other side after finding little success.
However, Reyna's injury brought Luca de la Torre into the midfield and Aaronson took on responsibility further up the pitch in the second half. He was taken off in the 68th-minute as the U.S. attack stalled and Canada showed signs of life. The 22-year-old played his part so this is pretty harsh, but the list must go on.
#2. USMNT and Canada fans
We all know the stadium was half-empty because Mexico wasn't in the final (even though there was still quite a bit of green in the crowd), but this is arguably the greatest USMNT squad ever (the first to win three straight Concacaf competitions) and easily the best Canada team ever and the attendance didn't reflect that at all.
The World Cup is only three years away! Americans should be fully behind these players by now and filling NFL stadiums. Canada, your NHL teams haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1993 — move on to something better.