CHICAGO (June 14, 2023) — The U.S. Men’s National Team continues its quest to claim a second-consecutive Concacaf Nations League title when it takes on Mexico in the second semifinal on Thursday, June 15 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Kickoff of USA-Mexico is set for 10 p.m. ET and the match will be broadcast live on Paramount+ and Univision.
In the other semifinal in Las Vegas, Canada faces off against Panama. The winners will meet in the CNL Final on June 18 at 8:30 p.m. ET, with the Third Place Match taking place just prior. Both matches will be shown live on Paramount+ and Univision.
Detailed Roster by Position (Club/Country; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Drake Callender (Inter Miami; 0/0), Sean Johnson (Toronto FC/CAN; 12/0), Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG; 26/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Sergiño Dest (AC Milan/ITA; 24/2), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace/ENG; 8/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 34/2), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 21/3), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 4/0), Auston Trusty (Birmingham City/ENG; 1/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 39/3)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA; 6/0), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP; 14/0), Weston McKennie (Leeds United/ENG; 43/11), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 25/0), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 18/4), Alan Soñora (FC Juárez/MEX; 2/0),
FORWARDS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG; 30/7), Folarin Balogun (Stade Reims/FRA; 0/0), Taylor Booth (Utrecht/NED; 2/0), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen/NED; 14/6), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 58/23), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 29/4), Alex Zendejas (Club América/MEX; 3/1)
ROAD TO THE FINAL FOUR
The U.S. Men’s National Team finished atop Group D of Concacaf Nations League A and advanced to the Final four after posting a 3-0-1 record in home and away matches against El Salvador and Grenada.
Jesús Ferreira’s four goal haul, along with a single strike from Paul Arriola paced the USA to a 5-0 win against Grenada in Austin on June 10, 2022. Four days later, Jordan Morris’ header a minute into second half stoppage time secured a crucial 1-1 draw at El Salvador.
In the new year, the USA used braces from Weston McKennie and Ricardo Pepi, as well as strikes from Brenden Aaronson, Christian Pulisic and Alex Zendejas to take a 7-1 victory at Grenada on March 24. With the USA needing just a draw against El Salvador to claim top spot in the group, Ricardo Pepi came off the bench to put home a 62nd minute winner in the 1-0 victory over La Selecta on March 27 in Orlando.
The USMNT is 22-36-17 all-time against Mexico in a series that dates back to 1934. Things have shifted greatly in the series since the turn of the century, with the USA holding an 17-9-8 advantage since 2000.
The USA is currently in the midst of a five-match unbeaten streak (3-0-2), against El Trí, which is the second longest in team history behind only a six-match undefeated run from 2011 to 2015.
Five players on the current roster appeared in the unforgettable 3-2 extra time win against Mexico in the 2021 CNL Final. Gio Reyna, Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic each tallied goals, while Sergiño Dest also started the match and Tim Weah came off the bench.
With seven caps against El Trí, Pulisic leads the list of 15 rostered players who have featured in a match against Mexico. He’s followed by McKennie (5), Miles Robinson (4), Weah (4), Walker Zimmerman (4), Dest (3), Antonee Robinson (3), Yunus Musah (2), Ricardo Pepi (2) Reyna (2), Brenden Aaronson (1), Sean Johnson (1), Chris Richards (1), Alan Soñora (1), and Matt Turner (1)
FOND MEMORIES AT ALLEGIANT STADIUM
The USA will play its second and third matches in the state of Nevada, having first graced the Allegiant Stadium pitch for the 1-0 extra time defeat of Mexico in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Final.
Center back Miles Robinson 117th minute header was the latest goal scored in USMNT history, while Matt Turner made five saves to keep his fifth clean sheet in six tournament matches. For their efforts throughout the competition, both players were named to the Gold Cup Best XI, with Turner taking the Golden Glove as best goalkeeper.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
Already this year a number of pieces have been added into the mix, as four players on this roster have made their USMNT debuts during 2023. Taylor Booth and Auston Trusty took their first bows on March 24 at Grenada, and Alan Soñora and Alex Zendejas earned their first appearances on Jan. 25 vs. Serbia. In addition, Johnny Cardoso became officially “cap-tied” to the United States when the Brazilian-American appeared against Grenada in March in Nations League group play.
The most recent addition to the USMNT brotherhood on this roster is Folarin Balogun, the multinational player who recently committed to representing the United States ahead of England and Nigeria. Balogun, who became the first U.S. international to score 20+ goals during one season in a top-flight European league with Stade Reims in France, was approved for a one-time change of association after having represented in England in official competition at the youth international level. The 21-year-old could make his international debut in the semifinal against Mexico.
PENALTIES, EXTRA TIME RULES FOR CNL
If either CNL semifinal between the USA and Mexico or Canada and Panama, as well as the final are tied at the end of 90 minutes, two extra time periods will be played. If still tied at the end of extra time, a penalty kick shootout will be used to determine the winner. If extra time is to be played in any match, each team will have the opportunity to make one additional substitution, allowing for a total of six changes to be made per side.
USA ROSTER NOTES
- The 23-player roster averages 18 caps and 11 appearances in official competition.
- As of the semifinal on June 15, the roster will hold an average age of 24 years, 129 days. The average age is about five months older than the 23-man squad for the inaugural Nations League Finals in 2021 (23 years, 336 days).
- Players represent clubs in nine different countries: England (7), USA (3), France (2), Germany (2), Mexico (2), Netherlands (2), Spain (2), Brazil (1), Canada (1) and Italy (1).
- Christian Pulisic is the leading cap-winner on the roster with 58 appearances. He’s followed by Weston McKennie (43), Walker Zimmerman (40), Antonee Robinson (34) and Brenden Aaronson (30).
- Eight players were part of the roster that claimed the inaugural 2021 Concacaf Nations League title in Denver: Brenden Aaronson, Sergiño Dest, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Antonee Robinson and Tim Weah.
- All three goal scorers from the 2021 CNL Final win against Mexico are on the roster. Gio Reyna put home a first-half equalizer, Weston McKennie’s late header sent the match to extra time, and Christian Pulisic scored what would stand as the game-winning goal, beating Guillermo Ochoa from the penalty spot.
- The sole player to appear in each of the USA’s 10 all-time Concacaf Nations League matches, Weston McKennie has registered a team-leading six goals to go along with three assists overall in the competition.
- After having his one-time change of association request granted by FIFA earlier this month, striker Folarin Balogun will look to make his USMNT debut during this month’s CNL matches.
- Balogun, who became the first U.S. international to score 20+ goals during on season in a top-flight European league, is joined by goalkeeper Drake Callender as the two uncapped players on the CNL roster.
- Center back Chris Richards will seek his first USMNT cap since Jan. 30, 2022 at Canada.
- Four players have made their USMNT debuts during 2023. Taylor Booth and Auston Trusty took their first bows on March 24 at Grenada and Alan Soñora and Alex Zendejas earned their first appearances on Jan. 25 vs. Serbia.
- With 19 of his 23 international goals coming in official competition, should Christian Pulisic score in either of the CNL Finals matches, he would become the fifth USMNT player to record 20 goals in competitive matches. He’s currently behind Clint Dempsey (41), Landon Donovan (38), Jozy Altidore (24) and Brian McBride (23).
- With 32 career goal contributions in official competitions to his name, Christian Pulisic would move into a tie with Jozy Altidore (33 G+A) for third on the USMNT’s all-time goal contribution list in competitive matches. They sit behind only Landon Donovan (77) and Clint Dempsey (56).
- Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic each have three goals in knockout round matches, tying them for fifth all-time among USMNT players, trailing Landon Donovan (14), Clint Dempsey (9), Brian McBride (6) and Aldo Donelli (5).
- The USA trails Mexico in the all-time series with a 22-36-17 record against El Trí, but holds a 17-9-8 advantage since 2000.
- The USMNT is unbeaten in five straight matches against Mexico (3-0-2), winning three straight before drawing the last two. The United States has had only one longer unbeaten run against Mexico, going six straight without defeat (3-0-3) from 2011 to 2015.
- This will be only the second semifinal meeting between the United States and Mexico in Concacaf competitions after a USMNT win in the semifinal of the 1991 Gold Cup. The previous nine matches between the USMNT and Mexico in Concacaf tournaments have all been finals.
- This will be the 14th meeting in a knockout match in all competitions for the United States and Mexico, with Mexico advancing seven times and the United States six. Three of the last four knockout meetings between the two teams have gone to extra time.
- Weston McKennie has scored in each of his last two matches against Mexico, scoring in the Nations League Final in June 2021 and a World Cup qualifier in November 2021. The only American to score in three straight appearances against Mexico is Alexander Rae, who did so in a two-week span in 1937.
- The USMNT hasn’t given up a goal in Miles Robinson’s last three starts against Mexico. Eddie Pope is the only USMNT center back with more consecutive starting shutouts against El Trí with five between Feb. 28, 2001 and April 28, 2004.
- Robinson and Walker Zimmerman paired together in both 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mexico – the 2-0 win on Nov. 12, 2021 in Cincinnati and 0-0 draw on March 24, 2022 in Mexico City.
- Should he play in the June 15 semifinal against Mexico, Alex Zendejas would become the third Mexican-born player to feature for the USMNT against El Tri, joining Martín Vasquez and William Yarbrough.
IN FOCUS: MEXICO
ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Carlos Acevedo (Santos Laguna; 6/0), Luis Malagön (Club América; 2/0), Guillermo Ochoa (Salernitana/ITA; 135/0)
DEFENDERS (8): Julián Araujo (Barcelona B/ESP; 6/0), Gerardo Arteaga (Genk/BEL; 18/1), Jesús Gallardo (Monterrey; 84/1), Victor Guzmán (Monterrey; 2/0), César Montes (Espanyol/ESP; 34/1), Israel Reyes (Club América; 7/2), Jorge Sánchez (Ajax/NED; 30/1), Johan Vásquez (Cremonese/ITA; 8/1)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Edson Álvarez (Ajax/NED; 61/3), Luis Chávez (Pachuca; 16/1), Sebastián Córdova (Tigres UANL; 14/3), Oberlín Pineda (AEK Athens/GRE; 52/7), Luis Romo (Monterrey; 29/1), Carlos Rodríguez (Cruz Azul; 42/0)
FORWARDS (4): Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul; 43/10), Santiago Giménez (Feyenoord/NED; 10/2), Ozziel Herrera (Atlas; 3/0), Henry Martín (Club América; 31/7), Érick Sánchez (Pachuca; 12/1), Alexis Vega (Guadalajara; 26/6)
REACHING THE CNL FINAL FOUR
Mexico advanced to this semifinal after winning Group A ahead of Jamaica and Suriname, compiling a 2-0-2 record with eight goals scored and three surrendered. Mexico earned both of its wins against Suriname – collecting a 3-0 victory on June 11, 2022 in Torreón and 2-0 away win on March 23, 2023 in Paramaribo. Jamaica provided a tougher test, playing El Trí to a 1-1 draw on June 14, 2022 in Kingston and a 2-2 deadlock on the final day of the group on March 26.
Seven different players have scored Mexico’s goals during the 2022-23 CNL group stage: Hirving Lozano Henry Martín, Oberlín Pineda, Israel Reyes, Luis Romo, Érick Sánchez and Johan Vásquez. An own goal in the 2-0 win at Suriname on March 23 rounds out Mexico’s goal tally.
MAN IN CHARGE
Diego Cocca was named Mexico manager on Feb. 10, 2023, a day after he stepped down as Tigres UANL boss. He replaced Tata Martino. Thus far, Cocca has led Mexico to a 2-0-3 record, with 2-0 victories against Suriname (March 23) and Guatemala (June 7) and draws against Jamaica (2-2 on March 26), the USA (1-1 on April 19) and Cameroon (2-2 on June 10.
Born on Feb. 11, 1972, Cocca forged a long career as a right back in his native Argentina.
He started as an 18-year-old with River Plate in 1990, before performing for River Plate, Deportivo Espanol, Ferro Carril Oeste, Lleida, Argentinos and Banfield in Argentina and Atlas, Veracruz and Queretaro in Mexico. Cocca also was a member of the squad that competed at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 1991.
After retiring in 2006, a year later Cocca embarked on a long coaching career in three countries that included clubs in his native Argentina (C.A.I., Godoy Cruz, Gimnasia LP, Huracán, Defensa y Justicia, Racing Club and Rosario Central), Colombia (Millonarios), and Mexico (Santos Laguna, Tijuana, Atlas and Tigres UANL). He guided Atlas to the Apertura 2021 title, its first championship since 1951 before winning the 2022 Clausura campaign.
- Fourteen players come from Liga MX with Monterrey and America leading the way with three players apiece. Cruz Azul and Pachuca have two players each, while Santos Laguna, Tigres UANL, Atlas and Guadalajara contributed one player each.
- Nine other players are based outside of Mexico: Netherlands (3), Italy (2), Spain (2), Belgium (1), Greece (1).
- El Tri has two players over the age of 30 on the roster. That includes 37-year-old goalkeeper Guillermo (Memo) Ochoa (135 appearances), a member of five FIFA World Cup squads, and 30-year-old forward Henry Martin. Jesus Gallardo, who can play as a defender or on the wing, is the most capped field player (84).
- Uriel Antuna, a 25-year-old forward who performs for Cruz Azul, leads all players with 10 goals in 43 matches, followed by midfielder Orbelin Pineda and Martin, who have tallied seven in 52 and 31 games, respectively.