The United States men’s national team (USMNT) booked its place in the Nations League final after beating Mexico on Thursday. Christian Pulisic netted a brace for the Yanks, but the match between the rivals gained attention for the wrong reasons. Four players were sent off in the second half and the game ended early because of homophobic chants.

Pulisic grabbed his first goal of the game in the 37th minute. The Chelsea attacker pounced on a loose ball inside Mexico’s box, used a burst of speed to get by a defender, and slotted home a shot from a fairly difficult angle to give the Americans the lead. Jorge Sanchez had the ball at his feet yet couldn’t control it before Pulisic made his move.

The captain, however, wasn’t done there. Pulisic then scored his second goal of the evening only moments after the start of the second half. Weston McKennie played a long ball out on the right flank toward Tim Weah. The winger collected the pass and played a perfect cross toward his onrushing captain. Pulisic was able to latch on to the pass and put the ball into the net with an outstretched foot.

USMNT gets past Mexico in fiery Nations League contest

Things then got chippy when Cesar Montes was sent off for a dangerous kick on Folarin Balogun. McKennie, and many of his American teammates, quickly confronted Montes for the foul. The Juventus midfielder was then also shown a red card for his part in the scuffle. McKennie’s shirt was practically ripped off during the incident.

Second-half substitute Ricardo Pepi then put the nail in the coffin with a goal in the 78th minute. Sergino Dest created the score with a fantastic run and pass to the striker. Pepi collected the ball free inside the box and placed a perfect shot past Guillermo Ochoa. Despite looking offside, the forward timed his run perfectly.

Two more players were sent off just eight minutes after the Pepi goal. Dest and Mexico’s Gerardo Arteaga both received red cards in the 85th minute after an altercation involving hands to the face. Arteaga initiated the fight, while the American defender retaliated.

Mexico fans chant homophobic songs at end of match

With the game out of reach, the referee paused the match in the 89th minute due to homophobic chants from the majority away crowd. While the game resumed, the referee called the game a few minutes early because the chants continued. The Mexican supporters targeted American goalkeeper Matt Turner with the songs.

Despite the disappointing display from the crowd, the USMNT defeated Mexico and advanced to the Nations League final on Sunday, June 18. The Yanks will play Canada for the trophy.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Agencia MexSport