CHICAGO (Nov. 19, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s National Team continues the quest for its third-consecutive Concacaf Nations League title in the second leg against Trinidad & Tobago in the Quarterfinal Round. The USA brings a 3-0 aggregate lead in the series that doubles as qualifying for the 2024 Copa America following the shutout victory on Nov. 16 in Austin, Texas, with goals from Ricardo Pepi, Antonee Robinson and Gio Reyna pacing the United States.
The away leg will be played Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. ET from Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The match will be broadcast live on TNT, Universo, MAX and Peacock. Live Spanish-language audio for the match will be available on Fútbol de Primera radio. Fans will also be able to to follow via @USMNT on Twitter, Instagram, U.S. Soccer’s Facebook, and the official U.S. Soccer App.
DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (Club/Country; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 9/0), Gaga Slonina (KAS Eupen/BEL; 1/0), Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 36/0)
DEFENDERS (8): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO; 15/0), Sergiño Dest (PSV Eindhoven/NED; 31/2), Kristoffer Lund (Palermo/ITA; 3/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 54/1), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace/ENG; 14/1), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 38/3), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 27/3), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 7/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Paxten Aaronson (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; 1/0), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP; 19/0), Lennard Maloney (Heidenheim/GER; 1/0), Yunus Musah (AC Milan/ITA; 32/0), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 23/7), Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven/NED; 7/0)
FORWARDS (5): Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin/GER; 37/8), Folarin Balogun (Monaco/FRA; 7/3), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/GER; 3/0), Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven/NED; 21/10), Alex Zendejas (Club América/MEX; 7/1)
SHUTOUT(S) OF THE SOCA WARRIORS
Winning by three and surrendering not a single shot on goal, the USMNT has now kept Trinidad & Tobago off the scoresheet at home for 11 straight matches dating back to 1996. Matt Turner recorded his seventh clean sheet in 2023, with the U.S. improving to a 10-2-5 record overall this year. The U.S. was aggressive in the attack while Trinidad & Tobago sat back with 11 players deep in their defensive third and invited the pressure, showing admirable discipline for most of the match to deny a breakthrough goal.
The hurdle for the visitors got taller in the 38th minute when midfielder Noah Powder, who was already on a yellow card after a reckless tackle in the 18th minute, brought down midfielder Weston McKennie aggressively from behind, earning his second caution of the night and leaving the Soca Warriors with 10 men going into the break.
FROM THE BOX SCORE:
USA: 1-Matt Turner; 2-Sergiño Dest, 3-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 13-Tim Ream (Capt.), 5-Antonee Robinson; 8-Weston McKennie, 6-Yunus Musah, 7-Gio Reyna; 17-Malik Tillman (9-Ricardo Pepi, 66) 20-Folarin Balogun, 16-Kevin Paredes (11-Brenden Aaronson, 66)
Substitutes not used: 18-Ethan Horvath, 21-Gaga Slonina, 4-Chris Richards, 10-Alex Zendejas, 12-Miles Robinson, 14-Luca de la Torre, 15-Paxten Aaronson, 19-Joe Scally, 22-Lennard Maloney, 23-Kristoffer Lund
Head coach: Gregg Berhalter
TRI: 22-Denzil Smith; 14-Shannon Gomez, 16-Alvin Jones, 2-Aubrey David (Capt.), 17-Justin Garcia, 6-Andre Raymond; 7-Ryan Telfer (15-Neveal Hackshaw, 46), 12-Daniel Phillips (23-Kristian Lee-Him, 66) 18-Andre Rampersad (4-Jesse Williams, 66) 8-Noah Powder; 19-Malcolm Shaw (11-Levi Garcia, 66)
Substitutes not used: 1-Christopher Biggette, 21-Rushon Sandy, 3-Ross Russell, 5-Michel Poon-Angeron, 9-Nathaniel James, 10-Real Gill, 13-Reon Moore, 20-Kaile Auvray
Head coach: Angus Eve
- The win against Trinidad & Tobago marked the third time the USMNT has scored three goals in the 82nd minute or later, and the first time the scoring opened at that point. The others:
- 8-1 win in a Friendly on Nov. 14, 1993 vs. Cayman Islands (85', 87', 89')
- 8-0 win in WCQ First Leg on June 15, 2008 vs. Barbados (82', 86', 89')
- The USMNT has also scored eight goals at the 82nd minute mark or later in 2023, the third most in team history - 12 in 2021, 9 in 1993.
- The shutout was the team’s 37th under Gregg Berhalter, the second most under any USMNT manager after Bruce Arena:
- Bruce Arena 73 SO / 148 GP
- Gregg Berhalter 37 SO / 65 GP
- Jurgen Klinsmann 36 SO / 98 GP
- Bob Bradley 31 SO / 80 GP
- Bora Milutinovic 31 SO / 96 GP
EYES ON THE PRIZE
In addition to putting the USMNT in position to win its third-consecutive CNL championship, the Quarterfinal Round serves as qualification for the prestigious 2024 Copa America, South America’s preeminent international tournament, which will be hosted in the United States next summer. The 2024 edition of the event will include 10 CONMEBOL nations and six Concacaf guest nations, including defending World Cup and Copa America champion Argentina led by captain and Inter Miami attacker Lionel Messi.
The winners of the four two-leg CNL Quarterfinals this month will qualify directly to the tournament. The four losing teams will face off in the final Copa America qualifiers next March, with the winners of the two one-match playoffs advancing to make up the final field of 16 teams at next summer’s tournament.
USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie has departed camp to recover from an aggravated left knee tendinopathy. No replacement will be added to the roster as the United States traveled to face Trinidad & Tobago in the second leg of the Concacaf Nations League Quarterfinal on Saturday.
BROTHERS ON AND OFF THE PITCH
Already the ninth pair of brothers to have represented the USMNT, Brenden and Paxten Aaronson could become the eighth set to play in the same international match, with the first opportunities coming during the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal series this month against Trinidad and Tobago.
Both are products of the Philadelphia Union’s YSC Academy and are plying their trade in Germany’s top division. Brenden is on a one-year loan to FC Union Berlin, while Paxten is enjoying his first year in the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt.
NOTES FROM LEG ONE
- The USMNT also moves to 10-2-5 in 2023, marking the 14th year the team has reached double-digit victories. The USMNT now holds a perfect 4-0-0 record at Q2 Stadium in Austin, with all four victories coming by shutout.
- Ricardo Pepi's 82nd minute game-winner was his 10th career goal and seventh of 2023. The 20-year-old forward has scored five of his seven goals off the bench this year, the most by a USMNT player in a calendar year.
- Pepi (21 caps; 20 years, 311 days) became the second fastest USMNT player to reach double-digit goals both by caps and age. He trails Jesús Ferreira (20 caps) and Christian Pulisic (20 years, 189 days).
- Antonee Robinson provided his sixth career assist on Pepi’s goal before hitting home his third career international goal to make it 2-0 in the 86th minute.
- Gio Reyna’s 89th minute goal was the seventh of his international career and marked the second time he has scored in back-to-back international matches, following his brace in last month’s 4-0 win vs. Ghana. He last scored in back-to-back matches on June 6 vs. Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League Final and June 9, 2021 in a friendly against Costa Rica.
- Starting his seventh consecutive match for the USMNT, Folarin Balogun collected his second career assist on Reyna’s goal. Balogun has three goals and two assists since debuting for the USA in June.
- Matt Turner made his team-leading 12th appearance of 2023 and moved past Arnie Mausser for sole possession of sixth all-time in caps among USMNT goalkeepers with 36 appearances. The match was also Turner’s 17th cap in 19 USMNT matches during FIFA international windows dating back to last September against Japan.
- The Starting XI had an average age of 24 years, 275 days. The lineup also averaged 26 caps and 14 in official competition.
- Gregg Berhalter moved into second all-time among USMNT head coaches in terms of caps awarded to players 23 and younger with 482 in 65 matches. Bora Milutinovic holds the record, with 502 U-23 caps in his 96 matches as USMNT manager. Berhalter also improved to 41-12-12 in 65 matches as head coach.
- Twenty-year-old midfielder Yunus Musah earned his 32nd cap, tying Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan and Christian Pulisic for the most appearances by a USMNT player before their 21st birthday. Musah also made his 30th start, extending his record of starts by a USMNT player before turning 21 – Donovan is second with 27 starts before his 21st birthday.
- Full back Sergiño Dest joined Musah in making his 30th start for the USMNT.
- Forward Kevin Paredes made his first start, earned his first cap in official competition and played his first match against Concacaf opposition tonight against Trinidad and Tobago.
- Veteran defender Tim Ream captained the side one day short of the 13-year anniversary of his first cap, a 1-0 win at South Africa on Nov. 17, 2010. The USMNT is 7-1-1 in the nine matches Ream has served as captain.
- Friday’s match was Cameron Carter-Vickers’ first start since the 1-0 win against Iran at last year’s FIFA World Cup.
LIGHTING THE LAMP
With 46 goals scored through 17 matches this year, U.S. goal scorers have been varied. Seven of the 14 players who have found the back of the net for the USMNT in 2023 are on this roster: Ricardo Pepi (7), Gio Reyna (3), Brenden Aaronson (2), Folarin Balogun (2), Chris Richards (1), Antonee Robinson (1), Alex Zendejas (1).
VS. THE SOCA WARRIORS
- The USA and Trinidad & Tobago have met 29 times, making the Soca Warriors the fifth-most frequent opponent in USMNT history.
- The USA holds a 22-3-4 all-time advantage against Trinidad and Tobago. The 22 wins against Trinidad are the USMNT’s second most against any international opponent behind only Mexico (23 wins).
- The USA-Trinidad and Tobago rivalry dates back to March 21, 1982, a 2-1 friendly win in the Trinidadian capital Port of Spain.
- The away leg in Trinidad will be one day after the 34-year anniversary of one of the most significant goals in U.S. Soccer history. On Nov. 19, 1989, Paul Caligiuri’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” gave the USMNT a 1-0 win on the final day of qualifying for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, sending the USA back to the tournament for the first time in 40 years.
USMNT IN TWO-LEG SERIES
While the November matches are officially classified as the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals, the home-and-away series also serves as qualification for next year’s Copa America in the United States. Though two-leg series are more common in the knockout stages of competitions like the UEFA Champions League, this marks the seventh time the USMNT will navigate a two-leg series with another opponent, and the first instance outside of World Cup qualifying. The USMNT goes into this month’s series with the Soca Warriors holding a 4-2 record in two-leg series, winning each of the last four instances.
|USMNT in Two-Leg Series|
|Opponent (Competition)||First Leg||Second Leg||Aggregate|
(Los Angeles, Calif.)
(Mexico City, Mexico)
(San Diego, Calif.)
(St. Louis, Mo.)
(St. Louis, Mo.)
(St. Georges, Grenada)
ABOUT THE CONCACAF NATIONS LEAGUE
Created to maximize the quality, quantity and frequency of competitive matches for all of Concacaf’s 41 Member Associations, the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League, which commenced in September, has a revamped format to include more direct elimination matches that will qualify teams to continental summer competitions.
The 2023-24 CNL will continue to be played in a three-League format (A, B, and C), with the region’s 41 men’s senior national teams distributed into the Leagues according to the results of the 2022-23 CNL.
The USA will compete in League A, which has been expanded to include 16 teams (up from 12) and a new quarterfinal round has been created to deliver more direct elimination matches.
- The roster is made up of 11 players that were part of the USMNT side at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 14 players helped the USA claim its second consecutive Concacaf Nations League title this past June.
- Eighteen players took part in the USMNT’s October camp.
- With 54 appearances, veteran defender Tim Ream is the leading cap winner, followed by Antonee Robinson (38), Brenden Aaronson (37), Matt Turner (36), Yunus Musah (32) and Sergiño Dest (31).
- The 22 players ply their trade in 10 different countries: Germany (6), England (5), Italy (2), Netherlands (3), Belgium (1), France (1), Mexico (1), Scotland (1), Spain (1), USA (1). Twenty-three players represent clubs in their respective first divisions.
- Four players make their return to the squad: forward Paxten Aaronson, defender Antonee Robinson, goalkeeper Gaga Slonina and midfielder Malik Tillman, who was originally part of the October roster before having to withdraw due to injury.
- The two youngest players on the November roster, both Paxten Aaronson (20) and Slonina (19) made their USMNT debuts during January camp this year. Still 18 at the time, Slonina became the youngest goalkeeper to appear for the USMNT when he started the match against Serbia on Jan. 25. Meanwhile, then 19-year-old Aaronson started the 0-0 draw with Colombia on Jan. 28.
With his start against Colombia, Paxten combined with his brother Brenden Aaronson to become the ninth set of brothers to earn appearances for the USMNT. They joined John and Pedro DeBrito, Otto and Rolf Decker, Angelo and Paul DiBernardo, Charlie and Henry McCully, George and Michael Nanchoff, Ken and Steve Snow, James and Russ Murphy, Archie and Tommy Stark.
Should he appear in the away leg, 20-year-old midfielder Yunus Musah (32 caps) would set a new record for most appearances by a USMNT player before their 21st birthday. Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan and Christian Pulisic jointly hold the record with 32 caps each. Musah (30 starts) already has the most starts by a USMNT player before their 21st birthday, and should he play 63 minutes, would surpass Landon Donovan (2,507 mins.), for most minutes before turning 21. Musah turns 21 on Nov. 29.
Already with 12 appearances in 2023, goalkeeper Matt Turner is the fourth USMNT goalkeeper to earn double-digit caps in at least three calendar years, and the third to do so in consecutive years: Tim Howard (6; 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2017), Tony Meola (5; 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994), Turner (3; 2021, 2022, 2023), Kasey Keller (3; 1998, 2002, 2005).
Eighteen players have previous Concacaf Nations League experience, with nine players earning five or more CNL caps: Brenden Aaronson (8), Tim Ream (7), Gio Reyna (7) Antonee Robinson (7), Luca de la Torre (6), Sergiño Dest (6), Yunus Musah (6) and Matt Turner (6).
Kevin Paredes made his debut in official competition in the first leg, leaving four players seeking their debut in official competition, as well as their first appearances against Concacaf opposition: Paxten Aaronson, Kristoffer Lund, Lennard Maloney and Gaga Slonina.
Five players made their USMNT debuts during previous November windows: Tim Ream (Nov. 17, 2010 at South Africa); Cameron Carter-Vickers (Nov. 14, 2017 at Portugal); Yunus Musah and Gio Reyna (Nov. 12, 2020 at Wales); and Chris Richards (Nov. 16, 2020 vs. Panama).
Forwards Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah were unavailable for the November roster due to hamstring injuries suffered in the week leading up to the international break.
- Seven players are on clubs currently taking part in the UEFA Champions League: Sergiño Dest, Ricardo Pepi and Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven); Yunus Musah (AC Milan); Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin), Cameron Carter Vickers (Celtic), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund).
Nine players have represented the USA in a FIFA Youth World Cup: Cameron Carter-Vickers (2015, 2017 U-20), Luca de la Torre (2015 U-17, 2017 U-20), Sergiño Dest (2017 U-17, 2019 U-20), Kevin Paredes (2023 U-20), Ricardo Pepi (2019 U-17), Gio Reyna (2019 U-17), Joe Scally (2019 U-17), Chris Richards (2019 U-20), Gaga Slonina (2023 U-20)
- Twelve players are products of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, with 10 coming from MLS Academies: Ricardo Pepi, Chris Richards, and Alex Zendejas (FC Dallas); Brenden Aaronson and Paxten Aaronson (Philadelphia Union); Gio Reyna and Joe Scally (New York City FC); Luca de la Torre (San Diego Nomads); Ethan Horvath (Real Colorado); Kevin Paredes (D.C. United); Miles Robinson (Boston Bolts); Gaga Slonina (Chicago Fire).
IN FOCUS: TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
THE ROAD TO THE CNL QUARTERS
Trinidad has competed in four CNL contests, posting a 3-1-0 record. The Caribbean side started with a 1-0 win over Curaçao, with Nathaniel James striking for a dramatic goal in the 87th minute in Port of Spain on Sept. 7. In a see-saw battle three days later, T&T beat El Salvador, 3-2, in San Salvador. Ryan Telfer, Malcolm Shaw and Justin Garcia (game-winner in the 72nd minute) paced the visitors.
The Soca Warriors overcame a two-goal deficit in the opening half to record a 3-2 win over Guatemala in Port of Spain. Alvin Jones started the rally with a 36th-minute penalty kick. Reon Moore equalized in the 54th minute and James put home another dramatic, late game-winner in the 89th minute.
Their streak was snapped in a 5-3 defeat at Curaçao on Oct. 17. For the second successive game, Trinidad fell behind, this time by a 4-0 deficit, before a second-second rally fell short. Moore (68th minute), Kristian Lee Him (74th minute) and Kareem Moses (86th minute) made it interesting.
DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Denzil Smith (Club Sando; 6/0), Christopher Biggette (Defence Force; 0/0), Jabari St Hillaire (Defence Force; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Alvin Jones (Club Sando; 49/4), Aubrey David CS Cartagines/CRC; 78/1), Justin Garcia (Defence Force; 16/1), Ross Russell (La Horquetta Rangers; 14/0), Jesse Williams (Central Valley Fuego/USA; 10/0), Andre Raymond (Vilar de Perdizes/POR; 5/0), Shannon Gomez (San Antonio FC/USA; 13/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kevon Goddard (Defence Force; 9/0), Michel Poon-Angeron (AC Port of Spain; 11/0), Kristian Lee-Him (IFK Eskilstuna/SWE; 5/1), Kaile Auvray (Mount Pleasant/JAM; 9/0), Andre Rampersad (Halifax Wanderers/CAN; 10/1), Daniel Phillips (St. Johnstone FC/SCO; 9/0), Duane Muckette (AC Port of Spain; 22/1)
FORWARDS (6): Ryan Telfer (Miami FC; 27/9), Real Gill (Club Sando; 4/1), Reon Moore (Defence Force; 24/7), Nathaniel James (Mount Pleasant/JAM; 4/2), Levi Garcia (AEK Athens/GRE; 42/8), Malcolm Shaw (Atletico Ottawa/CAN; 6/1)
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO MANAGER
Angus Eve took over the reins as head coach and the Under-20 coach on Sept. 2, 2021. He replaced former England international Terry Fenwick, who failed to get the side past the first round of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
His coaching experience includes stints as an assistant coach with San Juan Jabloteh and Ma Pau Stars in the TT Pro League and manager of the Trinidad Under-23 squad during qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.
Eve, 51, played 117 times as a midfielder for the Soca Warriors, scoring 34 goals. On the club level, he played for Joe Public, Defence Force, and San Juan Jabloteh in the TT League and one season for Chester City (England).
- There are three changes in the T&T squad from the first leg, with midfielders Duane Muckette and Kevon Goddard coming in for the suspended Noah Powder and Neveal Hackshaw who is also out on two yellow cards. Goalkeeper Jabari St Hillaire comes back into the squad in place of Rushon Sandy.
- Of the 23-player roster a total of 15 play overseas with eight performers domestically based.
- Defense Force have the most domestic players on the team, with four total.
- The Soca Warriors goalkeepers - Denzil Smith, Christopher Biggette and Jabari St Hillaire - have a combined total of six international matches under their belts.
- Forward Levi Garcia has returned to the squad after missing the four previous CNL matches due to an injury. Garcia, who tallied the opening goal for AEK Athens in the 11th minute of its 3-0 home win over Lamia in the Greek Super League on Sunday, Nov. 12, has scored eight international goals in 42 appearances.
- Forward Malcolm Shaw, who missed games against Guatemala and Curaçao, also is back on the team.
- Telfer leads all Trinidad players with nine goals in 27 matches.
- Defender Aubrey David, 33, who competes for CS Cartagines (Costa Rica), is the most capped player (77).
- Alvin Jones scored a goal the Soca Warriors 2-1 victory over the Americans in 2017, which eliminated the USA from contention for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Jones, who has four international goals in 48 matches, plays for Club Sando. He is the younger brother of former Trinidad international forward Joevin Jones, who performed for the Chicago Fire, Seattle Sounders and Inter Miami in Major League Soccer.