Antonee Robinson owned the left flank Thursday night. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Antonee Robinson was named the man of the match for his scoring heroics in the U.S. men’s 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over El Salvador on Thursday night.

He also won the unofficial back flip competition as well, thanks to a double flip to celebrate the lone goal of the match at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio.

Robinson, who did plenty of flips when he was younger, admitted his celebration just happened.

“I don’t really I don’t practice backflips anymore,” he said. “It’s just one of one of those muscle memory things. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid so I just know I can do it.”

After the flips, it appeared Robinson grimaced from an injury. Well, fortunately for the U.S. team, he wasn’t ailing.

“That was just kind of homage to something happened a few years ago playing a friendly for Everton in Africa,” he said. “My friend has been on me for weeks to do that celebration. As a pullout didn’t tell anyone so there was a few people scared but it’s all part of the fun of enjoying the game.”

Robinson played with Everton as a youth player.

While the flips look dangerous, U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter didn’t have a problem with Robinson’s celebration.

“If a guy scores like that and chooses to do that, who I am to ban that?” he said. “That’s an amazing physical feat. So congratulations to him for even being able to do that. I think it’s really impressive. But in all seriousness, Antonee Robinson was the coach’s man of the match tonight just for his relentless attacking and getting that goal. That was really important for our team.”

Robinson essentially owned the left flank on Thursday night. It seemed every time we turned around, he was with the ball attacking.

“He’s been in great form as well,” Berhalter said. “He’s been attacking. We asked him to do something very similar. He’s used to that. He got up and down the field. He got some good crosses, and he was able to arrive in the penalty box and score goals. We put an emphasis on our fullbacks arriving in the penalty box because we know we have that midfield line that’s supporting them and can clean up anything that comes out on top of the box.”

Now, Robinson and his teammates must concern themselves with Canada. The USMNT faces the Canadians in Hamilton, Ontario on Sunday at 3 p.m.

He and the USA will be going up against Tajon Buchanan, who set up Canada’s first score, an own goal, in its 2-0 win at Honduras on Thursday night, and Jonathan David, who struck for the insurance goal.

“We’re obviously going to take their strengths and weaknesses into account,” Robinson said. “If Gregg feels that’s a game that I need to step back a little more and help backline out then that’s something I’m going to have to do.

“I’m a very competitive player. I back myself going up against anyone. That’s the reason playing international football is so great. You get to play against top elite players. I embrace that challenge. I look forward to whoever I might come up against.”