Folarin Balogun marked his United States debut by helping the Americans beat Mexico 3-0 to reach the final of the Concacaf Nations League, in a crazy game that saw four players red-carded.
Flo featured for the nation of his birth for the first time after pledging his international future to the USMNT, and lined up alongside Gunners teammate Matt Turner, with Auston Trusty named as a substitute for the game in Las Vegas.
Two Christian Pulisic goals either side of half-time put the hosts in firm control, before tensions escalated on 68 minutes when a reckless hack on Flo by Cesar Montes saw the defender dismissed, and in the subsequent melee Weston McKennie was also red-carded.
After replacing Flo on 75 minutes, Ricardo Pepi then added a third to seal the holders’ spot in the final against Canada on Sunday, before another flashpoint two minutes from time saw both teams reduced to nine men when Sergino Dest and Gerardo Arteaga were also given their marching orders.
Turner had little to do to ensure he kept his 18th clean sheet in 27 caps, as the US too their first step towards retaining the first of the two titles they currently hold, with the next seeing them face off against their northern neighbours who beat Panama in the other semi-final.
Jorginho suffers semi-final defeat to Spain
Meanwhile, there will be no UEFA Nations League glory for Jorginho this time around, who saw his Italy side slip to a late 2-1 defeat to Spain in the semi-final in Enschede, Netherlands.
Our midfielder started the game to earn his 48th cap for his country, and having seen his side fall behind when Yeremy Pino netted after three minutes, the reigning European champions quickly responded through a Ciro Immobile penalty.
Jorginho looked to have recorded an assist when his pass allowed Davide Frattesi to fire home but VAR deemed him to be offside, before being replaced by Bryan Cristante on 61 minutes. However, he won’t get the chance to add to his impressive haul of silverware after ex-Stoke City and Newcastle United striker Joselu netted with two minutes to go to set up a meeting between Spain and Croatia.
Italy will now have to make do with a third-place play-off against the Netherlands on Sunday.
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