USMNT Recap: U.S. Trounces El Tri 3-0
United States advances to the Concacaf Nations League final following a trouncing of El Tri.
The Mexico-United States rivalry re-ignited Thursday evening as both nations met inside Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the Semifinals of the Concacaf Nations League.
Thursday’s contest saw some debuts for the United States. Firstly, B.J. Callaghan made his head coaching debut for the U.S. as the former assistant coach was named the United States’ second interim head coach after first interim coach Anthony Hudson departed for an opportunity with Qatari side Al Markhiya on June 6th.
U.S. fans also got their first look at Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun. Balogun sparked headlines on May 16th when the 21-year-old made the one-time switch to represent the United States.
Balogun entered his first appearance with the USMNT following a successful 2022/23 campaign that saw the attacker notch 22 goals and 3 assists over 39 appearances on loan with French side Stade Reims.
Former Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner started in goal as Antonee Robinson, Chris Richards, Miles Robinson, and Sergino Dest comprised the backfield. Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, and Gio Reyne were in the midfield as a debuting Folarian Balogun joined Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah in the attack.
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Pulisic's alertness paid dividends for the United States attack in the 37th minute as Edson Álvarez's back pass deflected off the leg of Jorge Sánchez and into open space inside the box. Pulisic was all over the ball as he ran onto it and honed a left-footed shot to the right side of the net. Sanchez closely pursued Pulisic as he laid out in an attempt to deflect the ball, but it came to no avail as the ball slotted through Memo Ochoa’s legs and into the back of the net to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
The United States wasted no time getting things rolling in the second half of play as McKennie lobbed a ball up the right flank to Weah. Weah cut into the box and found himself one-on-one with Ochoa, but unselfishly cut the ball centrally to Pulisic, who slotted the ball into the net to give the United States a 2-0 lead just a minute into the second half.
Center back Israel Reyes became the second Mexican player to enter the book in the 59th minute as he received a yellow card after fouling Gio Reyna. Antonee Robinson and Santiago Giménez received yellow cards in the sixtieth minute after a brief shoving match following Reyes’ foul.
Miles Robinson entered the book in the sixty-third minute after receiving a yellow card after fouling Santiago Giménez.
All hell broke loose in the 69th minute as César Montes chopped Balogun’s leg. Head referee Iván Barton wasted no time as he immediately reached for the red card as Montes. A commotion ensued as players from both sides stormed toward one another as players exchanged words and shoves.
McKennie exited the fray a mess as his jersey hanged on by a thread. McKennie stepped off the pitch and retrieved a new jersey, but it wasn't needed as Barton issued a controversial red card to McKennie for the extracurriculars as both sides were down to ten men.
A pair of substitutions came in the 75th minute as Ricardo Pepi and Luca de la Torre came on for Balogun and Reyna. Pepi put the nail in the coffin in the 78th minute as Dest lobbed a ball forward. Pepi maneuvered around Memo Ochoa as he laid a right-footed shot to the net.
Pepi’s celebration was short-lived as the goal did not count due to Pepi possibly being offside in the lead-up, yet after a VAR check, the goal was given as the United States took a 3-0 lead.
Two more substitutions came in the 82nd minute as Brenden Aaronson and Walker Zimmerman came on for Timothy Weah and Miles Robinson.
More extracurriculars transpired in the 85th minute following a Sebastián Córdova foul. Gerardo Arteaga shoved Sergino Dest from behind as Dest turned around and gave him one of his own. Both sides again rushed towards each other as Iván Barton dished out numerous cards. Dest and Arteaga were issued red cards for the shoving as Edson Álvarez, Chris Richards, and Memo Ochoa received yellow cards.
Disgusting acts from the fans inside Allegiant Stadium as the game came to a halt following homophobic chants from the crowd. Iván Barton brought the players together as a warning was issued to the fans about the language. After a few moments, play continued as twelve minutes were added to the second half.
However, the game was called off early by Iván Barton as the crowd again hurled the homophobic chant as the United States advanced to the Concacaf Nations League final following a 3-0 shutout over El Tri.
According to Nico Cantor, Concacaf has stated that the match wasn’t called off due to the homophobic chants but by the referee’s discretion.
Some milestones came for the United States as Christian Pulisic’s two goals gave him his 24th and 25th international goals for the U.S., which surpassed Revolution legend Joe Max-Moore for sixth place in the all-time scoring leaderboard. Pulisic also became the fastest USMNT player to notch twenty-five goals as the Chelsea forward accomplished the feat in just fifty-nine appearances.
B.J. Callaghan also made history as he joined David Gould (1939) as the only coach in USMNT history to defeat Mexico in their debut.
The United States will return to action on Sunday as they face Canada inside Allegiant Stadium in the Concacaf Nations League final at 8:30 PM ET on Paramount+. A game that won’t feature Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest, as the duo will serve their red card suspension from tonight’s game.