USMNT moves past Mexico; Canada beats Panama


Folarin Balogun of the United States (20) battles for the ball with Cesar Montes of Mexico during the first half of a CONCACAF Nations League semifinal match in Las Vegas on Thursday, June 15, 2023. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The CONCACAF Nations League semi-finals got underway at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Thursday as Canada defeated Panama 2-0 to secure their ticket to Sunday’s final. Les Rouges meets the USMNT after the USA defeated their arch-rivals Mexico 3-0 in Thursday’s late game.

The USMNT, the reigning CNL champion, extended its recent dominance over El Tri to six games and is unbeaten since 2019.

In the unforgettable 2021 CNL Finals, USMNT defeated Mexico 3-2 thanks to a game-winning goal from Christian Pulisic. Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie, who joined Pulisic in Thursday’s squad, also scored and secured the trophy for the Americans.

On Thursday, Pulisic again scored not once, but twice as the Americans defeated El Tri in a heated game that turned ugly in the second half. McKennie, Sergiño Dest and Mexicans César Montes and Gerardo Arteaga all received red cards for violent behavior. Ricardo Pepi added to the Americans’ tally after replacing USMNT new signing Folarin Balogun in the 75th minute.

A versatile player with international experience, Balogun came to the USMNT after a lengthy recruitment process and appeared to be the dynamic goalscorer that USA was yearning for. After showing his talent in France’s Ligue 1 at the Stade Reims, where he became the first US international to score more than 20 goals in a season, FIFA granted Balogun a one-off transfer and he made his debut for the side on Thursday. Balogun’s presence on the field seemed to allow the USMNT to attack immediately.

This is how the event went on Thursday:

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