USMNT open late floodgates in Nations League rout of Trinidad & Tobago


It was better late than never for the US men’s national team, which needed late goals from Ricardo Pepi, Antonee Robinson and Gio Reyna to defeat 10-man Trinidad & Tobago, 3-0, in the first leg of their Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal at Austin FC's Q2 Stadium Thursday night.

The second leg is scheduled for Nov. 20 in Port of Spain, when the two-time defending CNL champions can book their semifinal place in March 2024. Crucially, the aggregate winner also secures a Copa América 2024 spot.

Pepi, a second-half substitute, found the breakthrough in the 82nd minute when flicking on Robinson's service. That opened the floodgates for the USMNT, with Robinson (86') lashing home a deflected left-footed strike from outside the box. And Reyna (89') followed just before full time for his third goal in the last two US matches, capping an active evening for the New York City FC youth product.

The Soca Warriors were reduced to 10 men in the 37th minute when Noah Powder, a New York Red Bulls academy alum, was sent off for a second bookable offense for a reckless challenge on Weston McKennie.

The USMNT thought a breakthrough might come via a penalty kick on the hour mark when referee Oshane Nation pointed to the spot following Daniel Phillips’ challenge on McKennie in the box. But the initial decision was reversed following Video Review, delaying the inevitable as the USMNT cruised over a shorthanded and defense-minded Trinidad & Tobago.


  • 82’ – USA – Ricardo Pepi | WATCH
  • 86’ – USA – Antonee Robinson | WATCH
  • 89’ – USA – Gio Reyna | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: The possibility of a 0-0 draw against a side that bunkered defensively, even before being reduced to 10 men, would have raised concerns. But it felt like if one goal arrived more would come. That was the case after Pepi’s opener, giving the US a nice cushion to bring into the second leg in Trinidad & Tobago.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Pepi has carved out a nice role as a super-sub; five of his seven goals in 2023 have come off the bench.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Jedi Robinson served in the ball Pepi potted for the critical breakthrough goal and added some flair of his own on the finish and celebration of his goal that doubled the lead four minutes later.

Next Up

  • USA: Monday, November 20 at Trinidad & Tobago (7 pm ET) | Concacaf Nations League, Leg 2
  • TAT: Monday, November 20 vs. United States (7 pm ET) | Concacaf Nations League, Leg 2