HANOVER, N.J. — Many in the US men’s national team camp have talked about “progress” and not “revenge” for their loss to Mexico in the Concacaf Gold Cup final ahead of Friday’s rematch with El Tri at MetLife Stadium, the 70th all-time meeting between the two rivals (8:30 PM ET | FS1, Univision, TUDN).
Reggie Cannon, though, has different thoughts.
“It's gonna be a revenge match,” the FC Dallas right back said after training Tuesday. “We’re all super excited to play this game and I think the team coming out here, you can sense that feeling of we're going to go out there and get it done. That feeling of Gold Cup, that we were so close we could taste it. After that game we were all disappointed in ourselves, the team and the way we played. We’re going to come back out and have that fire and that hunger again.
“This time around it’s going to be different.”
It was an eventful Gold Cup for Cannon, who went from an injury replacement at the start of the tournament to starting in the final against Mexico. After the 1-0 loss at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the 21-year-old pondered the missed opportunity on his flight home to Dallas.
He’s taking those emotions into Friday’s international friendly, which is why he’s not shying away from the “revenge” talk.
“I think it’s a sense of loss,” he said. “Right after that Gold Cup final it kind of struck me on the plane back that you may never get that chance again to play in that game, to play against a team like that in a setting like that, an environment like that. That’s why these feelings are still kind of harbored inside of everyone.”
Friday won’t feature a trophy celebration like in Chicago, when confetti rained down on El Tri after they won their eighth Gold Cup title. But for Cannon, this match means just as much.
“We’re working on changing the way America views soccer and every step, every game is an opportunity to do that,” he said. “This game we're going to play just as we would if it was the World Cup final, the Gold Cup final, it’s going to be the same and we're going to give it everything we have.”
Cannon said he feels like a grizzled veteran amid an even younger group assembled for these September friendlies than the Gold Cup, joking about “having gray hairs on the back of my head at 21 years old.”
That youth moment includes his FCD teammate Paxton Pomykal, who is getting his first taste of the senior national team as part of a breakthrough season that has included competing in the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the MLS All-Star Game.
While Cannon has sought out players like John Brooks and a young veteran like Weston McKennie for advice, he’s been that sage for Pomykal, even offering to room with him during camp – much to the chagrin of Josh Sargent, Cannon joked.
“I really wanted to integrate him and give him the most success he could have possible with the national team because I really do believe that he's the future,” Cannon said. “People like that, even with the amount of talent that he has, I think it's really important to get them settled quick and give them the confidence that they need.”