Defending back to back titles, the USMNT came across familiar foes Trinidad and Tobago in the Concacaf Nations League quarter-finals. But this time, there’s a twist. The four winners of the quarter-final stage earn themselves a spot in the 2024 Copa America, being held in the United States. It felt imperative for the USMNT to qualify, but frankly, it never felt certain.
After a dismal 80 minutes, despite being up a man for 45 plus, the Yanks poured in three goals in the final eight minutes, to nab a 3-0 result over Trinidad. Heading to Port of Spain with a three-goal aggregate lead should be an easy task. But low and behold the USMNT had other plans.
Despite going up 1-0 on the night and 4-0 on the tie, Sergino Dest lost his cool on an out-of-bounds call that, to be fair to him, shouldn’t have been called out. Regardless of that, it did not warrant the outburst that led to two yellow cards, and a sending-off.
USA Qualify for Copa America, Despite Loss in Trinidad and Tobago
SERGINO DEST RED CARD.
— USMNT Only (@usmntonly) November 21, 2023
Sergin0 Dest issued an apology after full time:
Trinidad would score almost immediately after that, and inject life into their team. Under fifteen minutes into the second half, Trinidad scored a second, and all of sudden, all the dark nightmares of failing to qualify for a major tournament against Trinidad started to creep up on the USMNT again.
However, they sustained pressure, saw out the result, and have qualified for the Copa America and will compete in the tournament for the first time since 2016. Despite the joys of being able to see the USMNT play against the likes of Argentina and Brazil for a big tournament in our own backyard, it’s impossible to come out feeling satisfied.
The Gregg Berhalter led USMNT fall to 1-4-5 away from home in non-friendly Concacaf matches. While Copa America and the World Cup are on home soil, the track record against quality opponents isn’t good enough either to instill any confidence. What there still is though is a talented group of players learning and growing together, and hopefully, Berhalter and his tactics grow with them, for what some consider to be a make or break 3 year stretch for soccer in America.
Photo Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports, of a USMNT Headshot, on October 14, 2023.