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USMNT defender Mark McKenzie said he received racist social media messages following Sunday night’s 3-2 win over Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League final.
McKenzie’s turnover in the defensive third in the first minute of the game allowed Mexico to take a 1-0 lead on Jesus Corona’s goal. He was also called for a handball in the box in the 119th minute, a controversial call as it appeared he had his arms by his side in a natural position.
Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath saved the ensuing penalty, preserving the USMNT’s 3-2 lead.
The game on Sunday night also had to be paused after fans used anti-gay slurs. Mexico’s semifinal win over Costa Rica also was delayed for the use of similar chants, and FIFA opened an investigation into El Tri supporters this year for the continued use of anti-gay chants.
“This has been something that we have struggled with for the last years, and not only in the U.S. but almost everywhere where our national team plays,” Mexican Football Federation President Yon de Luisa said two weeks ago, per Jeff Carlisle of ESPN. “We saw it a little bit [at the 2018 World Cup] in Russia and other places where we have played. This is a challenge for us. This has become one of our important challenges for our federation.”
Racism and homophobia continue to be a major issue in soccer around the globe. On Sunday, English national team members were booed by the country’s supporters after they took a knee in protest of racism.
“The most important thing for our players is to know that we are totally united on it. We’re totally committed to supporting each other, supporting the team,” England manager Gareth Southgate said. “We feel more than ever determined to take the knee through [the Euros]. We accept that there might be an adverse reaction and we are just going to ignore that and move forward.”