Antonee Robinson assisted on the go-ahead goal and then scored an insurance tally from long distance as the United States erupted late in a 3-0 victory over 10-man Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday night in Leg 1 of their CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal.
Ricardo Pepi broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute, Robinson scored in the 86th and Giovanni Reyna added a third goal in the 89th in the match played at Austin, Texas.
The sides will resume the quarterfinal in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on Monday, with the winner on aggregate goals earning an automatic berth in the 2024 Copa America.
Denzil Smith made five stops for T&T, which for 80 minutes appeared headed to a historic result on American soil, where it has never kept a clean sheet against the USMNT.
The visitors held the Americans without a shot on goal until the 54th minute but had their job made more difficult when Noah Powder received his second yellow card and was dismissed in the 37th minute.
Robinson and Pepi, a 66th-minute substitute, made the play that finally broke the deadlock after a second half full of near misses.
After Robinson’s initial cross cleared, the ball was cycled back to Robinson on the left flank, where he hit a smart cross toward the near post.
Pepi met it with a diagonal run and extended his leg to redirect a one-time finish past Smith from close range.
With the USMNT looking to build the advantage heading into the return leg, Robinson doubled the lead on another partial clearance. This time, he corralled the loose ball just beyond the penalty arc and hammered a left-footed strike from 24 yards into the top left corner.
Reyna added his goal in his first 90-minute effort for the national team this year when he received a pass near the penalty arc, played a slick give-and-go with Folarin Balogun into the area and then finished from in close. It was his third for the national team in his past two appearances.
The Americans thought they have a near-certain chance to take the lead in the 60th minute when referee Oshane Nation pointed to the penalty spot.
However, Nation changed his mind after a video review, ruling that T&T’s Daniel Phillips had not actually fouled Weston McKennie.
–Field Level Media
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