Balogun scores in USA's Nations League triumph

USA lift the 2023 Nations League trophy

Folarin Balogun netted his first international goal to help the USA - and a trio of Arsenal players - retain the Concacaf Nations League by beating Canada 2-0 in Las Vegas.

Flo capped a memorable night by finding the net, while Matt Turner’s second consecutive clean sheet saw him named Goalkeeper of the Tournament. Meanwhile, Auston Trusty appeared as a 79th-minute substitute to win his second cap.

Having defeated Mexico in an ill-tempered semi-final, the US set up a meeting with another fellow 2026 World Cup host and quickly found themselves in front when Crystal Palace defender Chris Richards opened the scoring on 12 minutes by heading in a Giovanni Reyna corner.

Then on 34 minutes, Flo’s big moment arrived when a neat Reyna pass allowed him to beat the offside trap, and thrash a fierce right-footed shot into the net to double his team’s lead.

With his team in firm control, Matt would make four saves during the encounter to keep the Canadians at bay, and Flo nearly added a second when a Richards header fell into his path off the bar, but his shot was blocked on the line.

He would be replaced in the 76th minute by Ricardo Pepi, while Auston would be on the field for the final 12 minutes to enjoy the post-match celebrations, as the States won their third-straight Concacaf trophy, following their 2021 Nations League and Gold Cup successes.

Speaking post-match, Flo said: “It’s going to take time to build relationships with my teammates, but I don’t doubt myself. I saw Gio with the ball, I know his quality and I just made a short run in behind. It was a great slide pass and I was able to do what I normally do. I’m delighted that it was able to help us win this game today.

“The resilience and the way we stick together. You saw it in the first and game we are seeing it here. We really do support each other. I have only been around for a short amount of time, but already I feel a part of it and a part of something bigger. It’s a great feeling.”

Post-match, Matt was crowned the competition’s best keeper for the second straight time, and he’ll get the chance to try and add another international medal to his collection in the Gold Cup, which kicks off later this week.

Matt is one of only five players who were selected in both the Nations League and Gold Cup squads, while Flo and Auston were not included for the competition in Canada and the USA.

The US have been drawn in a group alongside Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and either Saint Kitts and Nevis or French Guyana, who will play off for the final group spot.

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