USMNT advances to Concacaf Nations League semis despite loss to Trinidad and Tobago in Leg 2

The U.S. conceded its goals after Sergino Dest's red card but won 4-2 on aggregate


The U.S. men's national team is moving on to the Concacaf Nations League semifinals.

Despite a 2-1 road loss to Trinidad and Tobago in Leg 2 on Tuesday, the USMNT won 4-2 on aggregate to punch their ticket to the next round of the tournament.

They also booked their spot in the 2024 Copa America that will be held in the U.S.

With Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah not in the squad due to injuries and Malik Tillman and Kevin Paredes not living up to par in Leg 1, Gregg Berhalter revamped his 4-3-3 approach.

Instead, he went for a classic 4-4-2 that featured Folarin Balogun and Ricardo Pepi together up top, while Gio Reyna and Brendan Aaronson operated as the wide midfielders. Yunus Musah and Luca de la Torre -- Weston McKennie missed out due to injury -- formed the double pivot.

The U.S. created the better chances early on with Aaronson in particular getting involved, but the first goal came from an unlikely yet familiar source in the November break. Left back Antonee Robinson, who scored in the 3-0 win on Thursday, got on the end of Sergino Dest's cross with a well-placed header in the 25th minute.

More goals could've been added to extend the 4-0 aggregate lead, but the game state completely flipped later in the first half when Sergino Dest got himself red carded in extremely head-scratching and inexcusable fashion.

Dest, who was upset after a line judge ruled him out of bounds when he thought otherwise, booted the ball away from play and kept jawing at the head official despite attempts from his teammates to quiet him. He received consecutive yellow cards for both incidents and got sent off with a red.

Trinidad and Tobago equalized shortly after in the 43rd minute when center back Alvin Jones drilled a pass that Reon Moore finished past Matt Turner.

But Jones didn't stop contributing there despite his deeper position. He put Trinidad and Tobago on top with a stunning long-range free kick in the 57th minute that Turner couldn't punch away.

Trinidad and Tobago had a few decent opportunities after that, but the U.S. held strong and never sat back in a defensive shape to hold on for the result.

Both teams had 10 shots with five on target, but the aggregate lead proved too much to overcome for the Soca Warriors.

Robinson and Musah played the full 90 and arguably were the top two players for the U.S., particularly for their work on the defensive front. Tillman did well with his hold-up play after coming on in the 65th minute to relieve some pressure on the defense.

The other teams left in the bracket are Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica and Canada, but the next men's international break isn't until March of 2024.

The USWNT will be in action very soon, however, with two friendlies versus China looming in early December.

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