Sorry, Gio Reyna and the rest of the teenagers on the U.S. men's national team; sorry, established stars of the women's national team. Kristie Mewis is 2020's player of the year in the United States, the breakout star of an impossible-to-fathom season. Her goal in the United States' 2-0 win against the Netherlands last week, coming more than seven years after her one previous goal for the national team, was merely the exclamation point on a joyful season.
Before this strange year, Mewis was probably best known for being the "also plays soccer" older sister of Sam Mewis, a national-team midfield stalwart. But then the Houston Dash, perennial also-rans in the NWSL, won the league's summertime Challenge Cup, and Mewis the elder was front and center in the celebrations, a joyous outpouring (and, um, inpouring, thanks to league sponsor Budweiser) that made Alex Ovechkin's Stanley Cup celebrations look like a Sunday picnic.
This is not to minimize her on-field performance, as she went on to lead the league in assists in the truncated fall season as well, earning her a return to the national team for the first time in over six years. In a year we're so desperate to forget, Mewis' joy was memorable. Her goal, followed by another celebration — this time on the field, with her younger sister — was a bright light in a dark year.
• The USWNT was supposed to be rusty, playing its first game in eight months. Instead, the women dominated the Netherlands — albeit a Netherlands team that was missing All-World striker Vivianne Miedema — in a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final. The U.S. women allowed just two shots, neither on target, and showed no evidence that most of the team has played just a handful of games this season.
• Going strictly by viewing figures, soccer fandom in the United States is mostly en español. The second leg of the Liga MX playoff quarterfinal between America and Chivas drew 2.5 million viewers on Univision, making it the most watched soccer game of the year in the United States — and outdrawing any of the first four games of the Stanley Cup Final.
Game of the weekend
MLS: New England at Columbus, 2 p.m. Sunday, Ch. 5. Once upon a time, it wasn't rare to see the Revolution this deep in the playoffs; the Revs made it to MLS Cup five times, including three in a row in the mid-2000s. They've lost them all. Can Bruce Arena's charges defy the odds and get the team to MLS Cup final No. 6?
Writer Jon Marthaler gives you a recap of recent events and previews the week ahead. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org