Despite losing 2-1 at Trinidad and Tobago on Monday, the United States men's national team have qualified for the 2024 Copa America due to winning the two-legged Nations League quarterfinal tie 4-2 on aggregate. They'll also move on in the Nations League semifinals which will take place in March of 2024 in Dallas.
Sergino Dest received back-to-back yellow cards in the 39th minute, earning a red card and sending the USMNT down to 10 men. The first yellow was for kicking the ball away while the second was for dissent as Dest lost his cool, even blowing the ref a kiss. Tim Ream and Gio Reyna did their best to calm down the situation but it was too late as the second yellow had already been issued.
Thanks to scoring an away goal via a header from Antonee Robinson in the first half, Trinidad would've needed to score five during the match but after Joe Scally entered, the USMNT were able to withstand their attack. It was still a disappointing end to the international break despite advancing in Nations League. They'll now be without Dest for the first leg of the semifinals.
A moment to forget
"It is concerning, it's not what we want to represent. It's not who we are as a group," Berhalter said in regards to Dest's red card.. "We pride ourselves on staying mentally disciplined, battling through any type of decisions whether they're good decisions or bad decisions we're supposed to keep going and responding in appropriate ways and that obviously wasn't the right response."
"Sergino did apologize to the group and he said that it's not going to happen again and we as a team, the players, and the staff need to hold him accountable, because it's inexcusable and we were very firm with our words after the game, he put a number of guys in jeopardy and made a number of guys do a lot of work in this weather and it's inexcusable."
Those are strong words from Berhalter who, while he mentioned the growth that Dest has gone through, knows there's a long way to go. Scally will likely be the person who comes in but Dest is still critical to what the team can do in Nations League.
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Due to the 2026 World Cup taking place in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, the USMNT need as many competitive matches as possible. They won't need to go through World Cup qualifying which means that Copa America will be a great time to test themselves against the best teams in the world. The USMNT need to learn how to cope with talent like Argentina and Brazil and it'll also be a test for Berhalter as well. If he's not able to get out of the group stage, there is a chance that the USMNT could move in a different direction coaching wise two years before the World Cup.