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USMNT player ratings: Robinson superb, Dest reckless as U.S. nervily book Copa America spot

The U.S. men’s national team closed out its Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal series against Trinidad and Tobago with a 2-1 away loss on Monday, which was enough to win 4-2 on aggregate and qualify for the 2024 Copa America.

Held at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, the game began promisingly for the USMNT, which took a lead in the 25th minute off a goal from Antonee Robinson. Things seemed straightforward given that the U.S. already led 3-0 from the first leg, but the match was then flipped on its head after fullback Sergiño Dest earned back-to-back yellows and an ensuing red due to arguing with the referee.

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Galvanized by the man advantage, Trinidad and Tobago leveled in the 43rd minute after a goal from Reon Moore. After the break, the hosts made it 2-1 when Alvin Jones found the back of the net in the 57th minute. Needing at least three more goals to win on aggregate, Trinidad and Tobago pushed forward in the final stages but ultimately fell short.

While the USMNT will now prepare for the Nations League semifinals in March, Trinidad and Tobago will have one last opportunity for Copa America qualification through a single-elimination play-in match that will take place in the same month.

Manager rating (scale of 1-10)

Gregg Berhalter, 4 — Although Dest’s red was an unexpected curveball for Berhalter, the manager couldn’t find a way to quickly bolster his defense and avoid the loss. With his side wilting under increasing pressure, Berhalter couldn’t shift the momentum that remained in Trinidad and Tobago’s favor until the final 5-10 minutes.

USMNT Player ratings (0-10; 10 = best; 5 = average)

GK Matt Turner, 5 — The Nottingham Forest goalkeeper could have done better on both goals he conceded, especially the second.

DF Sergiño Dest, 1 — Credit to him for an assist and his runs forward, but Dest completely lost his composure with unnecessary back-to-back yellows. A bizarre and shocking moment from the 23-year-old, who will need to be sharper and more disciplined in big moments.

DF Cameron Carter-Vickers, 6 — Some good defensive interventions, although he was questionable at times when the hosts pressured the USMNT back line.

DF Tim Ream, 7 — The USMNT captain worked well with Carter-Vickers and looked strong with his aerial duels.

DF Antonee Robinson, 8 — Despite losing possession a couple of times in dangerous areas, Robinson emerged as one of the most active players in the night. His 25th-minute goal was the icing on the cake of a great performance.

MF Yunus Musah, 6 — Musah was great with his distribution but left room for improvement with his one-on-one duels.

MF Luca de la Torre, 6 — Made good runs forward, but like Musah, the midfielder wasn’t always in complete control of his area of the pitch. Having to deal with being a man down obviously didn’t help in this regard.

MF Brenden Aaronson, 7 — One of the more energetic players, Aaronson asked early questions of Trinidad and Tobago through his dangerous shots. Beyond that, his distribution was also impressive.

MF Gio Reyna, 7 — Reyna was a clever playmaker for the USMNT, often pulling necessary strings in the final third before being substituted out due to the Dest red.

FW Ricardo Pepi, 6 — There was a promising partnership being built between Pepi and Balogun, but he still couldn’t manage a single shot in his 65 minutes.

FW Folarin Balogun, 6 — Balogun took early chances and dropped deep to get the ball but eventually had to play a more cautious game by the second half.

Substitutes (players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

DF Joe Scally, 5 — A quiet evening for the player who could earn plenty of minutes in the not-too-distant future after Dest’s red.

MF Malik Tillman, 6 — Did well to eventually help the USMNT close up shop and win back the ball in the final stages.

MF Lennard Maloney, NR — Came on in the 90th minute and didn’t get to show much.

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