Pulisic nabs a brace against rival El Tri.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (June 15, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s National Team dominated Mexico en route to a 3-0 shutout win in the Concacaf Nations League Semifinals in front of a sellout crowd of 65,000 fans at Allegiant Stadium. Forward and captain Christian Pulisic scored twice within 10 minutes on both sides of the halftime break and Ricardo Pepi added another to help the USMNT advance to its fifth straight regional Final.
Winners of the inaugural Nations League in 2021, the USMNT will aim to lift another trophy on Sunday, June 18 when they will face Canada in the Championship Game. Canada defeated Panama 2-0 in the earlier semifinal.
USMNT’s extended its unbeaten streak against El Tri to six straight games (4-0-2), matching the longest such streak against its rivals since a similar run from 2011-2015. In a tense affair, the teams combine for 13 cards, including 12 in the second half after the USA took a 2-0 lead. In all, nine yellow cards were shown and two players from each side were ejected.
In his first match after being appointed USMNT head coach, B.J. Callaghan’s starting XI featured eight players from the 2022 FIFA World Cup as well as forward Folarin Balogun, who made his USMNT debut.
The U.S. showed no signs of changing its style of play, pressing high early and keeping possession for most of the first half. Pulisic had a great chance after 20 minutes when he sped by a defender on the left side and went around Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. However, his shot sailed high as two defenders were in position on the goalmouth.
Pulisic struck 15 minutes later when he capitalized on a bad touch by a defender following a back-pass as the U.S. pressured high and beat Ochoa from a tight angle. The USA captain then doubled the lead seconds into the second half with a clinical finish from a Tim Weah cross from the right wing.
With the U.S. in complete control, the match became more heated when Mexico’s Cesar Montes kicked at Balogun from behind and was shown a direct red card. Weston McKennie was also shown a red after walking away from a scuffle with his jersey nearly ripped off.
Moments after coming off the bench, Ricardo Pepi added the USA’s third following a brilliant individual effort from Sergiño Dest that put him in a prime position to take a touch away from Ochoa to slot the ball into the open net, effectively sealing the match. However, the drama did not end as Mexico’s Gerardo Arteaga was ejected with five minutes left for raising his hands to the face of USA Dest, who reacted similarly and was also shown red.
USMNT Plays Canada in the CNL Final on Sunday, June 18 (8:30 p.m. ET; Paramount+, TUDN)