Seeing the USMNT defeat Mexico for the second time in 40 days last night was a brilliant feeling and one that had to be witnessed to truly be felt. Largely dismissed as a “C Team” due to them missing several of their perennial stars, the USMNT shocked everyone by going unbeaten throughout the entirety of the tournament before encounter longtime foe Mexico in the final.
The Yanks had previously dispatched of El Tri in June during the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League final in what was a hotly contested 3-2 victory that came down to the wire of extra time. This time around around, however, the US were missing several key players including, but not limited to Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna, and Sergino Dest whilst Mexico still retained a large portion of their regulars. But what Mexico didn’t take into account was the US had a secret weapon — James Sands.
Though he wasn’t perfect all tournament — or even for the final itself — Sands asserted himself throughout the Gold Cup, appearing in every game and starting in all but one. NYCFC teammate Sean Johnson was also called up, but was unable to get any minutes as Matt Turner played unbelievably well.
Fresh off this amazing accomplishment, James Sands and Sean Johnson have returned to team training. Johnson is expected to start against the Chicago Fire tomorrow night while Sands is likely to get a rest due to his high workload during the Gold Cup.
Both James Sands and Sean Johnson back in #NYCFC training today.— Glenn Crooks (@GlennCrooks) August 2, 2021
It sounds like Johnson will start vs. #cffc ahead of Luis Barraza & Sands will be handled a bit more gently after major minutes #GoldCup21 #GoldCupChampions @NYCFC @MLS #MLS @ThirdRailSC pic.twitter.com/V8Z3mWyQeW
While it’s always nice to see our Boys in Blue test their mettle on the international stage, it’s even better once they return and can contribute to our beloved club.
Welcome back, gents! We’re proud of you!