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Debate resolved: Reyna and Balogun assure that USMNT is the king of Concacaf – UnlistedNews

LAS VEGAS — The United States retained its Concacaf Nations League crown on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Canada thanks to first-half goals from Chris Richards and Folarin Balogun.

Richards put the USMNT ahead in the 12th minute, headering in from Giovanni Reyna’s corner kick. Balogun then doubled the lead in the 34th minute with a deft finish from Reyna past Milan Borjan into the Canada goal.

– Broadcast on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (USA)

Canada did what they could to get back into the game and enjoyed a strong 62-38 advantage in possession. But despite finding star spiker Alphonso Davies in some good positions, the visitors were unable to dent the USA’s lead. Interim USA coach BJ Callaghan moved to a five-man defensive line at final and, despite some tense moments, the hosts were able to see the end of the game and lift the Nations League trophy once again.

The honor is also due to Callaghan. He entered a difficult situation, being the interim of the interim, and he was correct with his decisions. Keeping him on staff should be a priority for Gregg Berhalter when he takes over for good.

quick reaction

1. USA reaffirms the mantle of king of Concacaf

There was much talk before Sunday’s game about who should be declared king of Concacaf. Canada certainly had a case to make in its favor. The Reds not only took four points from the US during World Cup qualifying, but also finished top of the Concacaf standings. The USA could point to the fact that they are the reigning Gold Cup and Nations League champions, and went deep into the World Cup.

It’s a debate that will no doubt continue, but on the basis of this matchup, the US sported a cut (or two) over when the game was in question. Every time the US moved into transition in the first half, it looked dangerous, especially when Reyna was on the ball. The upward move continually flummoxed Canada’s back line, as witnessed by Balogun’s clever run and finished off by Reyna’s perfect pass.

Set pieces, long a staple of the US attack, were an area where he also had a significant advantage, with Richards’ rough treatment of his Canadian counterpart, Alistair Johnston, allowing him to heading in Reyna’s corner kick in the 12th minute to put the USA ahead.

The USA had to absorb a lot of pressure in the second half, especially with Reyna forced out at halftime due to injury. Canada had also intended to advance given the first half deficit, but were unable to get the goal which would have added some tension to the final moments of the game.

Instead, Canada had to endure the taunts of “Stay with the hockey!” while the game was over.

2. Reyna and Balogun: The start of something special?

By his own admission, Balogun did not have his best game in demolishing Mexico 3-0 on Thursday. But part of it was down to where and how he was receiving the ball. He too often was fed with his back to goal instead of receiving the ball in channels with room to run. That made him easier to defend, even when he made a substitution, and led to a somewhat ineffective performance.

That was a lesson that not only Balogun took to heart, but also Reyna. The USA found their new striker with room to run more often, and he was much more dangerous, with goal being the prime example.

Unfortunately, Reyna’s performance was cut short by a calf injury and he was replaced in the second half by Luca de la Torre. Reyna could have been cleaner on the ball as well, but his moments of magic far outweighed his mistakes and, based on these two games, he appears to have found a home in central midfield. Oh, and please let Reyna take the pieces from now on. The quality in delivery of it amounted to a great improvement in this department. And best of all, it looks like some chemistry with Balogun is on the way to being established.

However, this leads to an intriguing question. If Tyler Adams, Reyna, Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah are healthy, which one sits? At this stage, McKennie would appear to be the odd man out, but that’s by no means a piece of cake. Going forward, it will probably come down to health and form, but Reyna looks like a lock.

3. Canada with some questions to ponder

This was supposed to be Canada’s coming-out party, a time to end their title drought by winning a trophy for the first time since the 2000 Gold Cup. Instead, that wait will have to continue, though the start of the Gold Cup later this month will give the Reds another chance.

In the meantime, there are some problems that need solving. The Canadian back line seemed utterly bewildered by the move in the American attack. At one point in the 41st minute, Scott Kennedy was involved in what could only be described as a rugby tackle on Balogun that went unpunished only because Reyna was running with the ball at her feet. Kamal Miller didn’t fare much better.

Manager John Herdman will also need to find a way to get more help for Davies. Joe Scally, Brenden Aaronson and Timothy Weah ran the ball towards the Bayern Munich star, and when Davies had possession, the US threw two and sometimes three defenders against him, basically challenging someone else in the lineup. from Canada to beat them. Usually the dual threat of forwards Cyle Larin and Jonathan David is enough. But this time, it didn’t happen.

Davies got loose a couple of times, including a first-half shot that was well saved by US goalkeeper Matt Turner, but there was almost always a second defender to stop his progress, and he was lacking in the final product when he turned the ball over. in the box. It’s a problem the US has faced with Christian Pulisic in the past, and Canada will need to find a solution of its own. Tajon Buchanan was thought to be a player who could provide some balance, but he was limited to 30 minutes as a substitute.

Best and worst performers


Giovanni Reyna, United States: Sure, he only played 45 minutes, but he made his time on the field count with two sublime assists.

Folarin Balogun, USA: Even beyond his goal, Balogun was a constant threat all night, and the understanding between him and his teammates will only improve.

Chris Richards, United States: In addition to his goal, he led a US defensive line that flexed but didn’t break. He also helped keep Larin and David mostly in check.


Scott Kennedy, Canada: He simply had no answer for the movement and mobility of the American attack, and Balogun in particular.

Alistair Johnston, Canada: He was badly outclassed in the US opener. He just needs to be stronger in that situation. He also had problems with the ball.

Jonathan David, Canada: On a day when Canada needed a big performance, he missed a shot in the first half and a late shot that went wide of goal. The last young lady summed up a frustrating night.

Highlights and Highlights

Richards opened the scoring Sunday with a classic USMNT set piece.

Not to be outdone, Balogun also got his first senior international goal.

Once ahead, the USMNT rarely seemed concerned and held on to lift the League of Nations trophy.

Key statistics (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

– The United States clinched its ninth major trophy on Sunday (7 Gold Cups, 2 Concacaf Nations Leagues).

– Richards’ 12th-minute goal is the fastest in any game of his career. It is the first time he has scored in the first 30 minutes of a game.

– Richards’ goal was the third fastest by a USMNT player in a final in the last 35 years. Only Clint Dempsey (10th minute in the 2009 Confederations Cup) and Michael Bradley (8th minute in the 2011 Gold Cup) have one faster in that span.

– Balogun (21) is the second youngest player to score for the USMNT in a final in the last 35 years, after 18-year-old Giovanni Reyna, in the 2021 Concacaf Nations League.


Sara Marcus
Sara Marcus
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


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