USMNT vs. Jamaica score, takeaways: Subs Gio Reyna, Haji Wright save USA in Concacaf Nations League semifinals

CBS Sports

The United States men's national team are through to the Concacaf Nations League final after coming from behind to beat Jamaica 3-1 in extra time on Thursday. Jamaica's goal in the first minute of play of the semifinal was undone by a Cory Burke own goal in the 96th minute following pressure from Miles Robinson on a corner kick. Off the bench, Haji Wright had a brace of goals assisted by fellow substitute Gio Reyna in extra time to lead the United States to victory. They'll face Mexico on Sunday in the final. 

Despite the final score, there is a lot of room for improvement for the USMNT and questions for Gregg Behlater. The USMNT have had trouble breaking down low blocks which is why allowing a goal in the first minute was the worst-case scenario. But the key was Renya. 

After his introduction, Reyna assisted two goals and took three shots as he was able to drive the USMNT to victory. Only Weston Mckennie and Christian Pulisic were attackers who took more touches than Reyna and they played 120 minutes in comparison to Reyna's 75. Despite struggling for playing time at Nottingham Forest since his move from Borussia Dortmund in January, Reyna showed that it's not a talent issue as he positioned himself to knock on the door for the starting XI in the Nations League final. 

Here are a few takeaways from the match:

Haji Wright proves worth

Being the last man picked for a roster can give you a few choices -- either think that the coach didn't want you or show the coach why you should be the first pick on the roster next time around and Wright chose the latter. Coming in on the wing instead of as a central striker, Wright showcased his versatility taking advantage of space created by Ricardo Pepi to drive in two goals. 

Reyna did the hard work to create both but forwards are supposed to finish their chances and Wright did just that. It will be hard to keep him out of the XI for an eventual final match as a result. Becoming the first player in USMNT history to score multiple goals off the bench in a knockout game is quite a distinction for Wright. Berhalter revealed that Wright skipped a family vacation to Dubai to accept the late call to the national team following the match which only drives home how much this means to him.

Missing Sergino Dest

Red cards are bad. Not only do they put your team in a bad position in the game that they're received but they also hamstring the team in the following match. If Dest starts this match, the USMNT aren't behind 30 seconds in and it's something that needs to be driven home to not receive rash red cards in the future. 

In the final, Dest will likely come back into the XI as Joe Scally seemed out of his depth, and Dest's ability to get involved in the attack was missed. Restoring familiarity to a disjointed USMNT will be needed and Dest's restoration to the XI will be a step to doing that but there must be discipline. 

Captain America returns

For the first time in 422 days, Tyler Adams has stepped on the pitch for the USMNT. Last seen in the round of 16 loss to the Netherlands at the 2022 World Cup, Adams has suffered numerous injuries but his introduction allowed the team to push forward with the confidence that their defensive shield was behind them leading to the equalizer in stoppage time.

Adams was withdrawn for Johnny Cardoso in stoppage time due to a minute limit and as a competitor, he wasn't happy as he was visible upset when talking to Berhalter. It's a tough situation due to needing to balance his health with his competitive nature but Berhalter could be seen consoling the midfielder on the sideline. Having Adams healthy for the final is critical and moments like that show why Berhalter is well-liked by his squad. In what was a poor match for the USMNT, Adams' return was among the brightest spots.

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USMNT 3, Jamaica 1 (AET)

March 21, 2024, 11:01 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 7:01 pm EDT
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Excellence from Wright and Reyna

A late addition to the squad and someone who can't get minutes for their club could've saved Gregg Berhalter as the USMNT have booked their place in the Nations League final. It took extra time to secure a 3-1 victory over Jamaica but they all count the same. Jamaica led from the first minute until the 95th minute of play but a Cory Burke own goal forced extra time before Haji Wright scored two goals off of two Gio Reyna assists. The USMNT now went from staring elimination in the face to now awaiting the winner of Mexico versus Panama in the final.

March 22, 2024, 1:35 AM
Mar. 21, 2024, 9:35 pm EDT
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Haji x Gio again!

That insurance goal was a critical one as Reyna showcased his playmaking ability before a sublime finish from Wright. These could be players who are pushing for a start in the final as they're playing with a fire under them.

March 22, 2024, 1:25 AM
Mar. 21, 2024, 9:25 pm EDT
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15 more minutes

Just keeeeeeepppppp holding on. The USMNT are 15 minutes from sealing an epic comeback. 

March 22, 2024, 1:19 AM
Mar. 21, 2024, 9:19 pm EDT
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Here comes Johnny Cardoso

The timing of this move shows where his fitness is as the USMNT will bring fresh legs into the match. Tyler Adams was only fit for about 30 minutes of soccer so better to be safe and get him out of there instead of risking another injury. Adams isn't happy to be withdrawn but now he has minutes before a potential final apperance.

March 22, 2024, 1:10 AM
Mar. 21, 2024, 9:10 pm EDT
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Better late than never! Wright was an injury replacement for Josh Sargent and set up by a beautiful pass from Gio Reyna. Are the USMNT remembering who they are?

March 22, 2024, 1:08 AM
Mar. 21, 2024, 9:08 pm EDT
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Checking in from AT&T Stadium

For a game that felt like it wasn't going according to plan for the USMNT, it feels apt that if they were going to get bailed out at all, it would be because of something out of their control. Burke's own goal means we're due for 30 more minutes of a game that's so far played out in somewhat strange fashion. We'll see if this breathes new life into the USMNT or if Jamaica can stick to a plan that almost worked out.

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We've got extra time!

With the last kick of the ball in regulation Miles Robinson forced an own goal to force 30 more minutes of free soccer bringing the score level at 1-1. It will likely go as a Cory Burke own goal after Jamaica led since the first minute of play. It's technically the USMNT's fist set play goal since June.

March 22, 2024, 12:56 AM
Mar. 21, 2024, 8:56 pm EDT
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Aaronson is in

It's kitchen sink time as Malik Tillman has now exited too. 14 minutes remain.

March 22, 2024, 12:36 AM
Mar. 21, 2024, 8:36 pm EDT
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Jamaica could've sealed it

De Cordova-Reid played the ball across the face of net and it was skied over Turner's net. What a let off as the USMNT has 23 minutes to turn this around.

March 22, 2024, 12:26 AM
Mar. 21, 2024, 8:26 pm EDT
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More changes incoming 

Haji Wright and Ricardo Pepi are now getting ready alongside Tyler Adams. Weah, Musah, and Balogun will all exit. This is the first appearance for Adams since the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup for the USMNT as he is getting back to full health. 

March 22, 2024, 12:22 AM
Mar. 21, 2024, 8:22 pm EDT
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Someone's got to finish that

Pulisic played a ball across the face of the goal but no one was there to meet it. The possession advantage is leading to chances as Jamaica begins to sit deeper and deeper.

March 22, 2024, 12:16 AM
Mar. 21, 2024, 8:16 pm EDT
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Quite a change from Berhalter

Joe Scally is off for Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie has now shifted to right back. This gives the USMNT a much stronger threat in possession as they look to overwhelm the Reggae Boyz.

March 22, 2024, 12:06 AM
Mar. 21, 2024, 8:06 pm EDT
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A few deflected shots

It's halftime but Christian Pulisic and Malik Tillman did create dangerous chances. There could be changes from Berhalter at the break because this has been poor.

March 21, 2024, 11:48 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 7:48 pm EDT
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Almost halftime

Erm... we're not hitting the panic button yet but getting close. Andre Blake still hasn't faced a shot on target and Folarin Balogun only has 12 touches so far in the match. The transition play just isn't getting it done as Tim Weah is the only attacking player getting on the ball but even he isn't creating dangerous chances.

March 21, 2024, 11:44 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 7:44 pm EDT
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A little better

The USMNT are beginning to create chances but they've yet to test Andre Blake in net. The midfield balance is off and the ball is being given away too easily but that could change as the match goes on.

March 21, 2024, 11:29 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 7:29 pm EDT
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This time it's Miles Robinson with the breakdown

Matt Turner was there to save the shot straight on goal by Cephas but the USMNT defense has been poor out of the gate and going the other way, the USMNT couldn't convert a 3 versus 2 chance.

March 21, 2024, 11:22 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 7:22 pm EDT
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Scally is now on a yellow

It's a nightmare start to the match. The USMNT needs to settle sooner than later if they'd like to maintain their Nations League dominance. Can't give Jamaica free chances around the box.

March 21, 2024, 11:13 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 7:13 pm EDT
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Both teams have had one shot

But only one team has done something with their chance. The USMNT is dominating possession as expected with Yunus Musah on the ball often but they haven't been dangerous with chances as progressing the ball to the attacking four has been easier said than done.

March 21, 2024, 11:10 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 7:10 pm EDT
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Uh oh

Less than a minute into the game Leigh has the Reggae Boyz ahead after Joe Scally lost his man. Plenty of time for the USMNT to fight back but you can't imagine a worse start to this match.

March 21, 2024, 11:03 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 7:03 pm EDT
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Almost time for kickoff

The teams are coming out and we're about to get underway. 

March 21, 2024, 10:54 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 6:54 pm EDT
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Only one of Jamaica's Premier League contingent makes the XI

Starters: Andre Blake, Damion Lowe, Di'Shon Bernard, Dexter Lembikisa, Greg Leigh, Joel Latibeaudiere, Michael Hector, Bobby De Cordova-Reid, Kasey Palmer, Renaldo Cephas, Jamal Lowe

March 21, 2024, 10:46 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 6:46 pm EDT
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What we're looking for today

March 21, 2024, 10:42 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 6:42 pm EDT
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It has been a season to remember for Antonee Robinson

Tying Clint Dempsey for the most assists by an American in the Premier League with six may not seem like much of an accomplishment for Robinson but that's when it's important to remember that the Fulham man is a left back, not a midfielder. Locking down top attackers left and right while also being sound in possession, Robinson has become a well-rounded Premier League regular while also being one of the first names on the team sheet for the USMNT. If links to Manchester City come around again this summer ... there may be a little more there.

March 21, 2024, 10:34 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 6:34 pm EDT
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Happy 50th cap, Weston McKennie

It's a landmark day for an important member of the squad as McKennie becomes the 61st player to hit the 50 cap mark. In fine form for Juventus with seven assists in Serie A play, McKennie has been showing off his creative side which could be another way to unlock Jamaica tonight.

March 21, 2024, 10:32 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 6:32 pm EDT
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You may be wondering where Johnny Cardoso is

While the midfielder has been in form and most expected him to start this match he may have been left out due to fitness. After only joining the squad on Tuesday night after undergoing an MRI in Spain, he did pass a fitness test but that doesn't mean that he's ready for 90 minutes in a must win match.

"Johnny arrived last night," Berhalter said. "We had to get him an MRI in Spain. He had to pass a fitness test today and he will be on the final roster and we'll just have to see how he continues to progress."

March 21, 2024, 10:23 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 6:23 pm EDT
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We have a lineup

It seems like close to a 4-2-3-1 from the USMNT with the inclusion of Malik Tillman in the XI. Does this point to an early entry for Gio Reyna?

Tonight's USMNT Starting XI vs. Jamaica: 1-Matt Turner, 3-Chris Richards, 5-Antonee Robinson, 6-Yunus Musah, 8-Weston McKennie, 10-Christian Pulisic (capt.), 12-Miles Robinson, 17-Malik Tillman, 19-Joe Scally, 20-Folarin Balogun, 21-Tim Weah

Substitutes: 18-Ethan Horvath, 22-Drake Callender, 4-Tyler Adams, 7-Gio Reyna, 9-Ricardo Pepi, 11-Brenden Aaronson, 13-Tim Ream, 14-Haji Wright, 15-Johnny Cardoso, 16-Mark McKenzie, 23-Kristoffer Lund

March 21, 2024, 10:16 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 6:16 pm EDT
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This team enters in mixed form

Despite being spoiled for choice, though, it has not necessarily been smooth sailing for the USMNT heading into Thursday's match. The players at Berhalter's disposal arrived in a wide variety of form, which is good news for some. Pulisic is in the midst of an outstanding finishing run after scoring in four games in a row for AC Milan, while Antonee Robinson is up to six assists in Premier League play for Fulham this season. There are hints of optimism with a few up-and-comers, too -- Johnny Cardoso is off to a strong start with Real Betis and might be building a case for himself to start on Thursday, while Haji Wright replaces the injured Josh Sargent in the midst of a 15-goal season for Coventry City.

For others, a call-up to the national team serves as a reprieve from a less-than-ideal club situation. Look no further than Matt Turner and Gio Reyna, the Nottingham Forest duo who joined the club in recent months with the hopes of earning playing time. Turner was a starter for the Premier League side but was relegated to the bench after a poor run of form, while Reyna made the move in the winter and has yet to truly become a part of the team.

March 21, 2024, 10:15 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 6:15 pm EDT
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How will the USMNT line up?

Without Dest, we know that Scally will likely start but that also means that Berhalter will likely turn to another tried and true member of his defense in the form of Tim Ream.

USMNT Predicted XI: Matt Turner, Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Chris Richards, Joe Scally, Johnny Cardoso, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Christian Pulisic, Folarin Balogun, Tim Weah

March 21, 2024, 10:06 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 6:06 pm EDT
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How to watch and odds

  • Date: Thursday, March 21 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • Pregame coverage: 6 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Golazo Network
  • Location: AT&T Stadium -- Arlington, Texas
  • Live stream: Paramount+
  • Odds: United States +260; Draw +340; Jamaica +600
March 21, 2024, 10:01 PM
Mar. 21, 2024, 6:01 pm EDT
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