CONCACAF NATIONS LEAGUE FINAL

Ethan Horvath hands USMNT the Nations League title in his Colorado hometown

The Colorado-born goalkeeper came on in the second half replacing injured Zack Steffen and saved a penalty in stoppage time to give the USMNT the title.

Estados Unidos
Ethan Horvath hands USMNT the Nations League title in his Colorado hometown
Isaiah J. Downing USA TODAY Sports

Not even the best Hollywood director could have written a better script for Ethan Horvath, the hometown hero that gave the United States Men’s national team victory against Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League final on Sunday night. Born and raised just 30 minutes from Mile High, Horvath had to come in the second half to replace injured Zack Steffen to save the day.

Two key saves from Ethan Horvath

The American goalkeeper had two crucial saves during his time on the pitch. First he blocked a shot from Hirving Lozano and then stopped Andrés Guardado’s 120th-minute penalty. Those two saves could change the path of his career because until now, he had only served as a second choice for country and club his entire professional career.

"If you're on the bench as a keeper, you don't expect to come in the game," Horvath told CBS, "and it's just a whole bunch of emotions. I was so proud of the boys because we put in a hell of a shift and a special moment for me. This is my hometown Denver, and I couldn't be happier with the boys."

Horvath made his debut with the USMNT on 7 October 2016 and kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory against Cuba. Prior to that he had been part of the United States roster under manager Jürgen Klinsmann, who called Horvath one of his “biggest hopes for the future in the goalkeeper position.”

The 25-year-old goalkeeper made his second international appearance on 30 May in an exhibition match against Switzerland. Horvath was replacing Zack Steffen, who was with Manchester City for the Champions League final, and he had an amazing performance during the end of the 90 minutes. After helping the USMNT win the CONCACAF Nations League trophy, he talked about his relationship with Steffen.

"Me and Zach have been on the national team together since we were14 years old and we have a fantastic relationship on and off the field," Horvath said. "He just said that everyone believes in me and to just do me.

"We spent a good 30-40 minutes watching penalties, just in case it went to a penalty shootout," Horvath said. "We watched from the guys who will start the game, from the bench guys. So if it was me Zack or David [Ochoa] in goal, any of the three of us, any one of us were prepared to step in and go and take a penalty. It's down to us doing our homework."