United States-Mexico match final marred by anti-gay chant, fans throwing objects on field

Scooby Axson
USA TODAY

Sunday's CONCACAF Nations League final between the United States and Mexico at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver was briefly suspended due to anti-gay chants in the stadium.

As the match was coming to a close in the second half during stoppage time, the chants were heard from the crowd and the officials asked them to stop. But the unruly fan behavior didn't end there.

Christian Pulisic ended up scoring the game winner with a penalty kick in the 114th minute, and in the 124th Mexico's chance at an equalizer via a penalty kick was stopped to secure the 3-2 win

Christian Pulisic celebrates after scoring on a penalty kick.

MORE:Christian Pulisic shushes Mexico fans while debris was being thrown

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After Pulisic's goal, U.S. midfielder Giovanni Reyna was struck the face with an object as fans threw cups and water bottles on the field. 

"Total lack of respect for what's happening on the field and all effort that both teams are putting into the game," U.S. manager Gregg 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.''

A fan was also tackled by stadium security after he ran on the field near the match's end. 

Mexico's Nations League semifinal match against Costa Rica on June 3 was also stopped over homophobic chants. Stadium security threw out several fans for chanting even after they were warned.

The referee stopped the match for three minutes, which is part of CONCACAF's anti-discrimination protocol.

Empower Field at Mile High stadium management released a statement Monday night, saying that five fans had been arrested.

"Sunday's CONCACAF Nations League final at Empower Field at Mile High between the United States and Mexico was an exciting, historic match played in front of an international television audience and a capacity crowd," stadium management wrote in a statement. "While the night showcased Denver as a world-class soccer destination and Empower Field at Mile High as a premiere sports and entertainment venue, the actions of a few patrons unfortunately took away from a memorable event. In addition to ejecting several individuals for violating the fan code of conduct, our security staff worked closely with the Denver Police Department to identify five people who were arrested - four for trespassing and one for throwing projectiles.

"The person arrested for throwing an object on the field was identified through security footage as being responsible for injuring a U.S. player. Along with facing criminal charges, this patron will be banned from all future events at Empower Field at Mile High.

"Empower Field at Mile High is fully committed to providinig a safe, welcome and inclusive environment for all participants and fans. Our fan code of conduct will continue to be strictly enforced to ensure a positive experience for everyone."