USMNT’s Matt Turner blasts anti-gay chants that ended win over Mexico early

Matt Turner and the US men’s national team defeated Mexico in Thursday night’s Concacaf Nations League (CNL) semifinal, but the game was overshadowed by anti-gay chants that caused the match’s referee to end the game early.

The game was halted before the completion of second-half stoppage time by referee Ivan Barton, who had already dished out an astonishing four red cards in the game. With four minutes left to go in injury time, he blew the whistle after Turner’s goal kick led to more anti-gay chants.

“[The chant] goes against everything that we stand for on our side,” Turner said after the win, according to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle. “We’ve been very open and vocal about the strength of our team being our diversity, the strength of our nation being its diversity. So to use something so divisive during a spirited game…it has no place in the game.”

The United States won the game 3-0 on two goals from Christian Pulisic and a third from substitute Ricardo Pepi, but that was hardly the headline following the victory.

“Concacaf strongly condemns the discriminatory chanting by some fans during the CNL Semifinal match between Mexico and the United States,” the governing body said in a statement on Friday. “The Confederation is in the process of urgently establishing further details and reports from security and match officials and will make a further statement in short order.”

The Mexican Football Federation has struggled over the years in curtailing the anti-gay slurs that typically happens during opposing goal kicks; the federation was fined $108,000 in January for chants during the 2022 World Cup.

Still, the United States got the victory, and interim head coach BJ Callaghan got his first win while serving as bench boss at the professional level.

“We were confident in the game plan that we were able to put together, and I think the performance from our side speaks for itself,” Callaghan explained. “We couldn’t be more happy with the performance, but at the same time we also understand that we need to turn the page and already start the recovery and preparation process to play versus Canada.”

Despite the disappointing ending, Matt Turner and the United States are off to Sunday’s game against their North American rivals in the Concacaf Nations League final.