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Dest dazzles in cap-tying USMNT win against Canada

ORLANDO —Sergino Dest had every reason to feel nervous heading into Friday’s U.S. Men’s National Team match against Canada. He was set to play in the match that would seal his international soccer fate for life, and a match that was a must-win for a USMNT in danger of crashing out Nations League.

Then there was also the fact that he would be matched up on the same side as Canadian star and fellow young standout Alphonso Davies.

Rather than showing nerves, Dest showed off the poise of a veteran, and the talent of a player worthy of being fought over by prominent national teams as a teenager. Dest flashed his speed, technical quality and fearlessness to help give the USMNT attack a boost, and the defense a solid presence at right back.

“Sergino is a gamer. He’s the type of kid that shows up in a game when the bright lights are on,’ USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter. “He has no problem performing and we haven’t really seen much like that from a player. The ability to just step up and perform like that. We’re really happy that he committed to us and you can see his overall display today, how calm and smart he is in some situations. It’s really going to help our program moving forward.”

“I think I just don’t play with stress. I’m never scared to lose a ball,” said Dest, who helped set up the USMNT’s opening goal. “If I lose a ball, I lose a ball, but if you don’t play with confidence, you’re never going to play a really good game. That’s why I always play with confidence. If I lose the ball, that’s it.”

Dest outplayed Davies, helping neutralize the Bayern Munich star, who was instrumental in Canada’s win in October, but who had little impact on Friday.

“It’s always nice to play against good players,” Dest said of facing Davies. “He’s a good player. He plays for Bayern Munich. It’s a challenge for him and for me, so it was nice to play against him.”

Dest said he felt no nerves before the match, or in the lead-up to the match, which was his first with the United States since deciding to play for the USA rather than his native Netherlands. While that fact didn’t faze him, he admitted that the fact Friday’s match was in an official competition, it had more weight to it than the friendlies he had played previously.

“This is official, so it feels like there’s no way back anymore,” Dest said. “I’m proud. I’m proud. It’s an honor to play for the national team. I’m glad that I made this choice.”

So is the USMNT, which now has Dest in the fold, a player capable of playing either right back or left back, and a player who can bolster the defense and attack, as he showed on Friday with his assist and with the promising scoring chance he created for himself, but ultimately missed.

“It feels great if you can do both. I always want to make an impact on the team defensive-wise and attacking-wise,” Dest said. “It’s just too bad I missed that one. I was pissed, but next time, I will score.”

Dest’s confidence shone through on Friday against Canada, offering an exciting glimpse of what USMNT fans will be hoping to see from him for the next decade. He also flashed some of the bravado that was on display earlier in the week, when he guaranteed the United States would not lose to Canada again.

“Some people didn’t like it,” A smiling Dest said of his guarantee. “I don’t care.”


  1. Liked Dest’s pace, aggressiveness and ability to control the ball at speed. Did not like his decision-making at times – he needs to learn to keep his head up and look for a pass rather than dribbling into 3 or 4 defenders and losing the ball. But he’s very young – that will come.

  2. Like him and he is a huge boost.

    But the hyperbole written about the win.

    He had a good game. But firstly, Davies was all over the place, not just on Dests side. So to make it sound like he locked him down is overstated.

    In general, I didnt see much of a difference from our play from Canada vs Orlando. Canada played poor away was the difference. Their marking was terrible.

    I sound like a hater but we are in trouble for the hex

  3. Glad he was played in his natural position. He was an exact reflection of what he did at u20 world cup. For the very very first time be halter showed tactics in his formation and everything went as he planned. Now I want this same attitude from players and coaching vs Mexico in an official match I know we can build up too it. Happy for the progress.

  4. Dest was great going forward, and looked better defensively. He is going to be a big part of this team in the future. I was glad to see the hustle was back for the US, and they deserve credit for getting a big result. Now just a win against Cuba away from advancing. That said, I still have some big questions about this team playing against tougher competition. We were so clinical with our chances, I think the score flattered us a little. Credit to the players, especially Morris and Zardes, for that. Yuiell was an improvement, hopefully he can continue to get better. McKennie had another rough game, yikes. Lletget was good enough that when he came off, there was a definite dropoff in quality, he needs to be a starter for this team right now. If you keep in mind how young this team is, you can be positive about the future. It’s just hard to see how we can compete with Mexico right now.


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