The USA qualified for the 2024 Copa America on Monday evening despite a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago.
The Americans had an early one-goal lead in the first half in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and appeared to have the game firmly in control before Sergiño Dest was shown a red card in the 39th minute after picking up two yellows in the space of a minute Cards received had bizarre sequence.
Dest received a yellow card for picking up the ball and kicking it away after the linesman called the ball out of bounds. Then Dest turned around and started talking to the referee in the middle, covering his mouth and pointing at the linesman. Dest seemed upset that a previous foul on him went unpunished. Several teammates, including Gio Reyna, Yunus Musah and Tim Ream, tried to pull Dest away, but he continued talking to the referee and eventually blew him a kiss. At this point he was shown the second yellow card and thus the red card and was sent off.
Sergiño Dest is sent off after receiving two yellow cards in a row 🔴
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— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 21, 2023
Both Ream and goalkeeper Matt Turner yelled at Dest as he left the field and eventually went to the locker room. US coach Gregg Berhalter immediately brought on right-back Joe Scally for Gio Reyna, but four minutes after Dest was sent off, Trinidad tied the game with a goal from Reon Moore.
The USA had a three-goal lead at the start of the away game, and after Antonee Robinson opened the scoring with a diving header on Monday night, they had a four-goal lead with one away goal, meaning Trinidad and Tobago tied for five goals had to knock the USA out of the Nations League.
T&T took a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute with a free kick from Alvin Jones that somehow made it through Turner’s hands. It was a familiar result for the US in Trinidad. They lost 2-1 in Couva, Trinidad, in 2017, their last visit to the island nation, in the game that eliminated them from the 2018 World Cup. At this point, however, the USA was able to limit the damage and secure their place in the Copa America.
With the victory, the USA also advances to the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Nations League in March. The USA has won the first two editions of the Nations League and now has the opportunity to make it for the third time in a row.
What you say
“It’s crazy, it’s unacceptable,” former USMNT star DaMarcus Beasley said on the TNT broadcast at halftime. “This is unacceptable. What he just did to put pressure on his team, the US team, in the second half and going into a real game that matters. And now he’s missing the semifinals. I would “I’d like to know what made him so upset that he threw a ball out of the stadium and then started yelling at his teammates as they left the field.”
Beasley was asked what Dest’s teammates would say to him at halftime.
“I just go to my OGs. If that was Gregg Berhalter when he was a player and he met Sergiño Dest in the locker room, all hell would break loose,” Beasley said. “The same goes for Clint Dempsey. The same goes for Carlos Bocanegra. The captains of the national team. They won’t allow this.”
“I understand when you throw the ball out of the stadium you get upset, but then you keep going and then you go ahead and blow kisses to the referee,” Beasley said. “For what? Because you didn’t make it (a foul was called against you). That’s baby behavior. I don’t understand it and I’m still upset about it.”
The U.S. senior team won’t be together again until March when they meet in the Nations League semifinals on March 21. It is not yet clear which teams will take part in these games.
Panama leads Costa Rica 3-0 overall and hosts the team later on Monday evening. Canada has a 2-1 lead over Jamaica and Honduras has a 2-0 lead over Mexico. These games are scheduled to be played on Tuesday.
The United States traditionally hosts a camp for MLS players in January, but the camp has not yet been announced. However, it could be an excellent opportunity to sign Olympic players and, as is traditionally the case, increase the depth of the pool.
(Photo: Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)