US soccer star subjected to racial abuse on social media

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United States Men’s National Team star defender Mark McKenzie says that he faced racial abuse online following the team’s 3-2 soccer win over Mexico in the first CONCACAF Nations League final on Sunday night.

McKenzie, who is Black, took his thoughts to Instagram on Monday regarding the abuse.

“The amount of racial abuse and personal attacks on myself and family from ‘supporters’ and ‘non supporters’ just ain’t it,” McKenzie wrote.

In the Instagram post, McKenzie used an example of what he was dealing with. 

McKenize, who is 22 years old and also plays for the club team Genk in Belgium, made a mistake during the game against Mexico, which led to a goal by Jesús Corona, and he later was whistled for a handball in the 119th minute, but United States goalkeeper Ethan Horvath came up with a big save and preserved the win for the Americans.

Superstar Christian Pulisic successfully converted a penalty kick in the second half of extra time to lift the United States to victory, but following the eventual game-winning goal, the match was stopped for about three minutes during the second-half stoppage time because of discriminatory fan chants at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, and U.S. attacker Gio Reyna was drilled in the face with an object thrown from a fan. He was down on the field for several minutes.

As soon as Pulisic nailed the penalty kick, the team ran to one of the corner flags to celebrate, and that’s when fans decided to launch beer and other drink containers onto the field. One of the containers hit Reyna, and U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter shared his thoughts on the incident following the game.

“Total lack of respect for what’s happening on the field and all effort that both teams are putting into the game,” Berhalter said. “I think he’s going to be OK, but he did take something to the head, and it could have been a lot worse.”

The U.S., however, survived an extended 11 minutes of stoppage time following the second extra period and beat Mexico in a competitive match for the first time since 2013 following a stretch of three losses and a draw, gaining confidence ahead of the start of the World Cup qualifying events in September.

“We’re a young side and we need to learn how to win,” Berhalter said. “It’s also about the fight and spirit. .. They really showed the heart of champions.”

“This is the perfect way to end the year,” Pulisic added after the match.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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