CHICAGO, Illinois -- After netting the winner against Curacao in the quarterfinals, United States MF Weston McKennie spoke of the thrill of scoring for his national team. It was just the second international goal for the highly touted 20-year-old MF from Schalke 04.
Less than nine minutes into Wednesday’s semifinal against Jamaica, McKennie smashed home another, ultimately helping the U.S. to a 3-1 win and a 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Final date with arch-rivals Mexico.
“Any way possible, whether it’s scoring a goal or tracking a man back, it doesn’t matter,” McKennie said to Concacaf.com. “I just want to help the team win.”
In most matches, McKennie is tasked with a multitude of responsibilities in the center of the park. It’s what makes his eye for goal and the critical pass all the more impressive.
“Weston’s very good at picking those moments,” said U.S. Manager Gregg Berhalter. “He’s a dynamic runner, too. When the ball gets wide, he sees where space opens up and he attacks it.”
When asked about the freedom his manager has given him during this tournament, McKennie expressed gratitude and a desire for more.
“It’s nice to know that when I do get forward,” McKennie said, “I can have that freedom to be my own player and bring what I have.”
“But we try to do it with a mindset as a collective,” McKennie continued. “You can never be selfish or feel like you’re above the team. You can do everything with your own sense of style, but only if it’s also in a sense of helping the team.”
McKennie spoke of the vibe around the U.S. camp going into Sunday’s Final against Mexico in Chicago.
“The collective feeling is great,” said McKennie. “It’s going be a [heck] of a game and I’m definitely looking forward to it. We’ll be ready to battle.”