Top Stories

After struggling against El Salvador, spotlight is on Sergiño Dest to deliver for USMNT


Sergiño Dest has played on some of the biggest stages the sport of soccer has to offer, and after a season spent as a starter for FC Barcelona, the U.S. men’s national team fullback isn’t short on confidence.

What he was short on in Thursday’s World Cup qualifying draw against El Salvador was effectiveness, and after putting in one of the most disappointing performances of his young national team career, Dest heads into Sunday’s showdown with Canada under pressure to deliver far better.

As far as USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter is concerned, Dest will continue to have the ability to try and make things happen.

“We want to give him freedom to be creative,” Berhalter said of Dest. “As long as that fits within our game plan, that’s what we want. He’s an artist type of a player, has a real creative side to him, has an amazing amount of skill and technical ability. We want to give him the ball and let him do good things. It’s not often that you see fullbacks with that amount of talent.

“It’s up to us to get him involved and get him involved good positions where he could be decisive because it’s nice to be able to, to dribble by guys at midfield,” Berhalter said. “But for me, it’s really about the impact we’re having and goals and assists. How are we getting the ball in front of goal, how are we scoring goals or making assists, even in the fullback position.”

What Dest won’t be short on is motivation, as he faces off against Alphonso Davies in one of the better duels Concacaf has to offer, and a battle that will go a long way in determining who wins on Sunday.

Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Dest got the better of Davies when they squared off in the USMNT’s Concacaf Nations League win in November of 2019. Dest was dominant and Davies struggled to make an impact as the Americans rolled to a 4-1 win.

If Dest can win his battle against Davies on Sunday, then the USMNT will have a good chance of beating Canada for a third straight time, while earning a valuable three points in its quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.


  1. As someone who for years wanted the USMNT to field as many creative and offensive players as possible back in the 4-4-2, conservative, “empty bucket” midfield days, I don’t see how Dest actually adds more than he subtracts on the field, based on how he actually plays.

    Take away the brand name of the club he plays for, take away how he plays for the club that none of his USMNT teammates play for, and a style of play that USMNT does not play, take away any promises that 3G made him when recruiting him over, and … just. Focus. On. How. He. Actually. Performs. On. The. Field.

    Why is that so hard? The sample size is large enough now in 2021. Switzerland, Honduras, Mexico, El Salvador. He has not created goal scoring chances for him team. He has for the other team, in fact. Bench time.

    • Antonee Robinson has shown more than Dest, getting an assist vs. Canada. However, Yedlin was torched by Davies and that led to the Canadian goal. I have urged the US to call in Araujo from the Galaxy. It won’t hurt and he has almost as much speed as Dest and leads the Galaxy in assists. Plus, I don’t think he is selfish like Dest can be.

  2. If no CP, or Reyna, then Dest should be your starting LW. Not as much, defensive responsibility, A. Robinson behind him. Yedlin at RB or RWB isn’t going forward. BA as a RW will put effort in on defensive side. More than likely, if Dest plays LW, he’ll be matched up on Laryea side. Save KDF for the last 20-25 minutes. Pepi is skilled enough as a passer to play winger also.

  3. So is Dest the problem or Berhalter? As a youth coach, my instinct was to give Dest a stern reminder that there are 10 other players on his team. And that he plays defense. Have we just lacked skill players for so long that we’re drunk on it?

    • and that’s why you aren’t a coach. Creative players need to be taught to manage their responsibilities but you certainly don’t want to beat this out of Dest’s game

  4. I think a healthy and in form Musah playing wide right MF could really allow Dest to get more forward from the RB spot. I think Musah is going to be a beast and if he can really defensively clog up one side of the field it can allow Dest to really get forward.

    • you can play something like a 442 or 451 where the backs have an extra layer of wide help beyond a forward chasing their backs. we compound the risk of backs who aren’t great on defense with a formation that doesn’t protect them much.

  5. his problem is defense. bare minimum he should not be playing LB at this stage of competition. he does generate tangible productive offense compared to some of his wingback brethren.


Leave a Comment