United States men’s national team defender Sergiño Dest was sent off in a Nations League matchup with Trinidad and Tobago Monday night. The red card, however, was not for dangerous play such as a terrible tackle. Instead, the PSV full-back was handed two yellow cards within 30 seconds for dissent.
As the Yanks were winning the match 1-0, and up 4-0 on aggregate, Dest thought he kept the ball in play along the sideline. Nevertheless, the assistant referee waved his flag to signal for a throw in. The defender then picked up the ball and kicked it off of the pitch in protest. Match referee Walter Lopez quickly gave Dest his first yellow card.
Several American teammates, including Gio Reyna and Yunus Musah, tried to cool down Dest after the booking. Reyna even tried putting his hand over Dest’s mouth to avoid any further incident. Dest, however, could not keep his calm and was shown a second yellow card as he continued to yell at the ref. The full-back even blew Lopez a kiss after being sent off.
Trinidad and Tobago would go on to win the match 2-1 on their home turf. Despite the loss, the Yanks advanced to the CONCACAF Nations League semifinals on an aggregate score of 4-2. Although they do not yet know their opponent, the USMNT will play the semifinal matchup in March at AT&T Stadium in Texas.
USMNT coach calls Dest’s actions ‘inexcusable’
After the disappointing display, Dest took to social media to apologize for the incident. “I want to apologize to my teammates, Staff, Fans and whole nation for my behavior it was unacceptable, Selfish and immature I let my team down!” Dest wrote on Instagram. “It’s something I have to learn from and it won’t happen again!”
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter was asked about the defender’s actions after the loss. The manager labeled the incident as “concerning” and also claimed that the player must be accountable for his actions. “It’s inexcusable and it was surreal,” said Berhalter. “It is concerning because that’s not what we represent, that’s not who we are as a group.”
“We pride ourselves in staying mentally disciplined, battling through any type of conditions. Whether they’re good decisions or bad decisions, we’re supposed to keep going and respond in an appropriate way, and that obviously wasn’t the right response from Sergiño.”
“He apologized to the group. He said it’s not going to happen again. As a team, the players, the staff, we need to hold him accountable.”
Teammates also call out Dest for red card display
Berhalter was not the only one associated with the team to criticize Dest’s actions during the game. The team’s captain on the night, Tim Ream, also revealed that Dest received some choice words from teammates during halftime of Monday’s match.
“Not too many things I can say here publicly that we said privately,” stated Ream. “It’s a complete lack of respect for the guys that are playing, for the guys that are on the bench. It’s a lack of respect for the game itself and for the referees.”
Fellow defender Antonee Robinson also called the sending off a “moment of unprofessionalism.” Dest will now miss the Nations League semifinal matchup in Texas. The 23-year-old full-back was also previously sent off in a contentious matchup with rivals Mexico back in June. Dest was last handed a red card in club play while featuring for the Ajax U21s in January of 2021.
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