US qualify for Copa America despite Trinidad loss


The United States have qualified for the 2024 Copa America despite losing 2-1 at Trinidad and Tobago and having Sergino Dest sent off over two yellow cards within 30 seconds.

Dest, who is currently on loan to PSV Eindhoven from Barcelona, first kicked the ball away in disgust about a throw-in decision in the 39th minute and then continued to grumble for so long that he was booked again.

"It's a complete lack of respect for the guys that are playing, for the guys that are on the bench. It's a feeling of a lack of respect for the game itself, for the referees," quoted US captain Tim Ream as criticising Dest.

Dest apologised in an Instagram post after the match, saying: "I want to apologise to my teammates, staff, fans and whole nation for my behaviour, it was unacceptable.

"Selfish and immature I let my team down! It's something I have to learn from and it won't happen again!"

Antonee Robinson gave the US a 25th-minute lead in Port of Spain before Dest got his marching orders and the hosts then rallied with goals from Reon Moore in the 43rd and Alvin Jones in the 57th.

The dismissal and defeat eventually didn't hurt as the reigning champions US won the CONCACAF Nations League quarter-final tie 4-2 on aggregate, having won their home leg 3-0 last week.

This also qualified them for the 2024 Copa, officially the South American championships but with other teams added. The US will host that event next year but was not automatically qualified.

Together with Mexico and Canada, the US will also host the 2026 World Cup.

It was the US team's first trip to Trinidad since 2017 when the Soca Warriors denied them a place at the 2018 World Cup in a 2-1 win.