The US men's national team are on to the Concacaf Nations League semifinals, falling 2-1 in the second leg of their quarterfinal series at Trinidad & Tobago but claiming a 4-2 aggregate victory after overcoming a first-half red card to Sergiño Dest. The aggregate win also secures their place in Copa América 2024, where they'll be the host nation.
The Yanks looked to be in cruise control after taking a 3-0 aggregate lead into the match and getting an opening goal from left back Jedi Robinson in the 25th minute. The hosts made it interesting, though, capitalizing on their man advantage with a pair of goals on either side of the break that forced the USMNT to see out a nervy finish.
It was the Yanks' fullback duo that combined for the first-half opener, as Dest set up Robinson's close-range diving header with a pinpoint delivery from the right side.
The positive start was undermined, however, when Dest was sent off in the 39th minute after picking up two yellows for dissent in quick succession. The sequence immediately preceded T&T's first goal, which was scored by forward Reon Moore in the 43rd minute to cut the aggregate lead to 4-1.
Playing down a man, the second half became a survival test for the Yanks – one they managed to pass, despite a long-distance free-kick rocket from T&T's Alvin Jones in the 57th minute that evaded Matt Turner for the hosts' second goal.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Dest’s lapse in discipline made the task much harder than it needed to be, but in the end the US managed to accomplish their most important objective, which was advancing to the semifinals and clinching their Copa spot. In that sense, they can breathe a sigh of relief despite the pair of critical mistakes between the red card and a goalkeeping error by Turner.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Dest’s 39th-minute ejection will no doubt be a major talking point coming off the match.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Robinson had a standout series, scoring two impressive goals and adding an assist across both matches. The Fulham left back has really developed into a dynamic two-way threat.
- USA: Thursday, March 21 (opponent TBD) | Concacaf Nations League Semifinals
- TAT: Saturday, March 23 (opponent TBD) | CNL Play-In for Copa América 2024