USMNT survives Sergiño Dest's red-card meltdown to qualify for Copa America

The USMNT narrowly avoided another incredible heartbreak in Trinidad and Tobago on Monday, as Sergiño Dest was petulantly sent off and a 4-0 aggregate lead finish 4-2 following a 2-1 defeat on the night.

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As a result, the USMNT is qualified for Copa America 2024 which is to be hosted in the United States this summer, as well as the CONCACAF Nations League semifinals — also in the U.S., in the spring.

After a sleepy, uneventful opening 20 minutes finally gave way to some more positive play and build-up, the USMNT took the lead on the night and all but put the tie to bed as they increased their advantage to 4-0 on aggregate. Dest had loads of time out on the right wing before he delivered a curling, dipping cross toward the penalty spot, where Antonee Robinson stooped down to head home his second goal in as many games this international window.

Alas, the good times quickly unraveled as Dest was shown two yellow cards in the span of a few seconds, first for arguing with the referee and then again after he booted the ball into the stands as he grew more frustrated with the situation. Dest felt he had been fouled during an earlier sequence at the other end of the field and he continued to jaw after play was briefly stopped out near midfield. Out came the first yellow card.

Then, Dest, incredulous that he had been booked when he felt he was the aggrieved party, picked the ball up, turned toward the crowd and sent it high in the sky. By the time Dest launched it clear, Yunus Musah, Tim Ream and Gio Reyna were all pleading for him to calm down and not escalate things any further. After the second yellow was shown, Dest took the long way down the field and past a visibly angry Matt Turner, who gave him an earful as he rounded the back side of his goal.

Four minutes later, now down a man, Reon Moore raced in behind the USMNT defense, beat Cameron Carter-Vickers to a through ball inside the penalty area and smashed a near-post finish past Turner to make it 1-1 on the night (4-1 on aggregate).

Trinidad and Tobago pulled another goal back in the 57th minute, the fruits of their dominance early in the second half. Alvin Jones lined up a free kick from beyond 30 yards, hit it hard and flat toward the far post and Turner parried the ball over his own head and into the back of the net. 2-1 on the night (4-2 on aggregate), as the Soca Warriors poured more and more pressure on the USMNT the rest of the way, but ultimately came up empty.

USMNT midfield immediately overrun after Sergiño Dest sent off

Fortunately for Gregg Berhalter, there were no more calamitous mistakes or meltdowns in the final half-hour and the USMNT stemmed the tide by taking off a forward in exchange for an extra body in midfield. Initially, Berhalter took off one of his four midfielders, Reyna, to bring on Joe Scally in Dest's place, which saw Trinidad and Tobago seize total control of the game and cut their deficit in half in 15 short minutes. Perhaps the comeback could have been halted altogether by taking Ricardo Pepi off in the first place.

Player ratings - Trinidad and Tobago vs USMNT

Trinidad and Tobago player ratings
Trinidad and Tobago player ratings

Trinidad and Tobago vs USMNT, live score: 2-1

Goalscorers: Antonee Robinson (25'), Reon Moore (43'), Alvin Jones (57')

25th minute - GOAL - Antonee Robinson scores again to make it 1-0 (4-0)

39th minute - RED CARD - Sergiño Dest boots ball into stands, shown double yellow card

43rd minute - GOAL - Reon Moore immediately capitalizes on the man advantage

59th minute - GOAL - Alvin Jones hits a screamer to cut USMNT lead to 4-2

USMNT starting lineup

Turner — Dest, Carter-Vickers, Ream, Robinson — De la Torre, Musah, Reyna, AaronsonBalogun, Pepi

USMNT vs Trinidad & Tobago first leg coverage

How to watch Trinidad and Tobago vs USMNT en Peacock en Espanol

Kickoff (second leg): 7pm ET Monday, November 20

TV Channel: Universo, Telemundo Deportes

Stream En Espanol: Peacock