Reyna, Balogun guarantee United States is king of Concacaf

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

Richards put the USMNT on prime within the twelfth minute, heading house Giovanni Reyna‘s nook. Balogun then doubled the benefit within the thirty fourth minute with a deft end from Reyna’s via ball that obtained previous Milan Borjan within the Canada objective.

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Canada did what it might to get again within the recreation, and loved a hefty 62-38 edge in possession. However regardless of discovering star attacker Alphonso Davies in some good positions, the guests had been unable to make a dent within the U.S. lead. U.S. interim supervisor B.J. Callaghan went to a five-man again line late on and, regardless of some tense moments, the hosts had been in a position to see out the match and hoist the Nations League trophy as soon as once more.

Honor is because of Callaghan as effectively. He got here right into a tough scenario — being the interim to the interim — and was spot-on along with his choices. Conserving him on the workers must be a precedence for Gregg Berhalter when he takes over for good.


Speedy response

1. U.S. reaffirms king of Concacaf mantle

There had been loads of chatter previous to Sunday’s match as to who precisely needs to be declared king of Concacaf. Canada definitely had an argument to make in its favor. Not solely did the Reds take 4 factors off the U.S. throughout World Cup qualifying, however they completed prime of the Concacaf standings. The U.S. might level to the very fact that it’s the reigning Gold Cup and Nations League champion, and went deeper within the World Cup.

It is a debate that may little question proceed to rage, however on the idea of this match, the U.S. seemed a reduce (or two) above when the sport was unsure. Each time the U.S. went ahead in transition within the first half it seemed harmful, particularly when Reyna was on the ball. The motion up prime frequently befuddled Canada’s again line, as witnessed by Balogun’s intelligent run and end off Reyna’s inch-perfect via ball.

Set items, lengthy a staple of the U.S. assault, had been an space the place it had a major benefit as effectively, with Richards’ manhandling of Canada counterpart Alistair Johnston permitting him to nod house Reyna’s nook within the twelfth minute to place the U.S. forward.

The U.S. was left to take in loads of strain within the second half, particularly with Reyna compelled off at halftime due to harm. Canada was additionally intent on pushing ahead given the first-half deficit however could not get the objective that will have added some pressure to the sport’s closing moments.

As an alternative, Canada was left to endure taunts of “Keep on with hockey!” as the sport wound down.

2. Reyna and Balogun: The beginning of one thing particular?

By his personal admission, Balogun did not have his greatest recreation in Thursday’s 3-0 demolition of Mexico. However a part of this was all the way down to the place and the way he was getting the ball. Too usually he was fed along with his again to objective as an alternative of being given the ball within the channels with room to run. That made him simpler to defend, at the same time as he put in a shift, and led to a considerably ineffective efficiency.

That was a lesson taken to coronary heart by not solely Balogun, however Reyna as effectively. The U.S. discovered its new ahead with room to run extra usually, and he was far more harmful, with the objective the prime instance.

Alas, Reyna’s efficiency was reduce quick by a calf harm and he was changed within the second half by Luca de la Torre. Reyna might have been cleaner on the ball as effectively, however his moments of magic far outweighed his missteps and, primarily based on these two video games, he appears to be like to have discovered a house within the middle of midfield. Oh, and please let Reyna take set items any further. The standard in his supply amounted to an enormous improve on this division. And better of all, it appears to be like like some chemistry with Balogun is effectively on its option to being established.

This results in an intriguing query, nevertheless. If Tyler Adams, Reyna, Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah are all wholesome, which one sits? At this stage, McKennie would appear to be the odd man out, however that’s not at all a slam dunk. Sooner or later it should probably come all the way down to well being and type, however Reyna appears a lock.

3. Canada with some inquiries to ponder

This was alleged to be Canada’s popping out occasion, a time to finish its title drought by profitable a trophy for the primary time for the reason that 2000 Gold Cup. As an alternative that wait should proceed, although the beginning of the Gold Cup later this month will give the Reds one other alternative.

Within the meantime, there are some issues in want of fixing. Canada’s again line seemed completely flummoxed by the motion within the U.S. assault. At one level within the forty first minute, Scott Kennedy engaged in what might solely be described as a rugby deal with on Balogun that went unpunished solely as a result of Reyna was operating with the ball at his toes. Kamal Miller did not fare a lot better.

Supervisor John Herdman can even have to discover a option to get Davies extra assist. Joe Scally, Brenden Aaronson and Timothy Weah all ran with the ball on the Bayern Munich star, and when Davies had possession, the U.S. threw two and typically three defenders him, principally daring another person within the Canada lineup to beat them. Normally, the twin risk of forwards Cyle Larin and Jonathan David is sufficient. However this time, it did not occur.

Davies did shake free a couple of instances, together with one first-half shot that was effectively saved by U.S. keeper Matt Turner, however there was nearly all the time a second defender to halt his progress, and he was missing in finish product when he did ship the ball into the field. It is a problem that the U.S. has confronted with Christian Pulisic prior to now, and Canada might want to give you an answer of its personal. Tajon Buchanan was regarded as a participant who might present some steadiness, however he was restricted to half-hour in its place.


Greatest and worst performers

BEST

Giovanni Reyna, U.S.: Positive, he solely performed 45 minutes, however he made his time on the sphere depend with two chic assists.

Folarin Balogun, U.S.: Even past his objective, Balogun was a relentless risk all night time, and the understanding between him and his teammates is barely going to get higher.

Chris Richards, U.S.: Along with his objective, he marshaled a U.S. again line that bent however did not break. Additionally helped maintain Larin and David largely in test.

WORST

Scott Kennedy, Canada: Merely had no reply for the motion and mobility of the U.S. assault, and Balogun specifically.

Alistair Johnston, Canada: Was badly outmuscled on the U.S. opener. He merely must be stronger in that scenario. He struggled on the ball as effectively.

Jonathan David, Canada: On a day when Canada wanted an enormous efficiency, he had one first-half shot that missed and one other one late that was extensive of the goal. The latter miss summed up a irritating night time.


Highlights and notable moments

Richards opened the scoring Sunday from a traditional USMNT set piece.

To not be outdone, Balogun additionally bagged himself his first senior worldwide objective.

As soon as forward, the USMNT not often seemed troubled and held on to carry the Nations League trophy.


Key stats (supplied by ESPN Stats & Data)

– The US secured its ninth main trophy Sunday (7 Gold Cups, 2 Concacaf Nations Leagues).

– Richards’ objective within the twelfth minute is the quickest in any recreation of his profession. It is his first time scoring within the first half-hour of a recreation.

– Richards’ objective was the third-fastest by a USMNT participant in a closing prior to now 35 years. Solely Clint Dempsey (tenth minute in 2009 Confederations Cup) and Michael Bradley (eighth minute in 2011 Gold Cup) have a sooner one in that span.

– Balogun (21) is the second-youngest participant to attain for the USMNT in a closing over the previous 35 years, after 18-year previous Giovanni Reyna within the 2021 Concacaf Nations League.



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