‘I didn’t think twice about it. I gotta take him down’: USA’s Kellyn Acosta speaks out on his half-way line lunge on LAFC teammate Gareth Bale in Wales draw after returning home following Qatar World Cup exit
USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta has opened up on a crucial foul that denied Wales a last-gasp opportunity to score a winner against the US from the half-way line in both teams’ opening Group B match at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Speaking to Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts on Monday after the USMNT was eliminated following a 3-1 loss to Holland in the Round of 16, the LAFC midfielder said: ‘It was one of those things where I didn’t think twice about it.
”I gotta take him down” even though we’re teammates back home in LA but it’s one of those things where’s it’s for our country.’
‘I gotta take him down’: LAFC midfielder Kellyn Acosta revealed that he had to foul Gareth Bale
Acosta, 27, lunged in to foul Wales star and LAFC teammate Gareth Bale at the half-way line
It was in the ninth minute of stoppage time when US goalkeeper Matt Turner came way out of his goal to head clear the danger as they hoped to hang on to a point.
The Arsenal back-up’s clearance, however, fell to the feet of former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale who looked to pull the trigger from the half-way line.
That’s when Acosta stepped in to foul his LAFC teammate as his tackle was made to prevent any chance of the USMNT from suffering a defeat in their 2022 World Cup opener.
The former FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids man was shown a yellow card, a small price to pay, considering that Wales could have walked away at the death with all three points.
His tackle denied Bale the chance of scoring a potential winner with Matt Turner out of his goal
After the match, US fans took to social media to laud the 27-year-old midfielder for ensuring that his team would seal a point, rather than none at all.
One fan claimed: ‘One of the greatest tactical fouls of all time.’
A second posted: ‘Literally the best play in US soccer history’ with a third fan, hinting at Welsh roots, added: ‘Crime against humanity but well justified.’
US fans were ecstatic after Acosta ensured the USwalk away from the match with a point
Now that the journey to lift the World Cup on December 18 is over for the Americans, Acosta was asked what he’ll be doing over the holiday season after flying back into the country over the weekend.
‘Christmas is a special time for me. I get to go back home with my friends and family so now it’s one of those things where I kind of just get to relax and breathe a little bit and enjoy great company.’
The USMTN will turn its attention to the CONCACAF Nations League, next playing Granada and El Salvador in 2023.