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Balogun nets first goal as USA claim Nations league title

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Folarin Balogun scored his first goal for the United States in its 2-0 win over Canada on Sunday in the Concacaf Nations League final at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

First-half goals from Chris Richards and Balogun put the U.S. on its way to a team record third-consecutive title in Concacaf competitions following wins in the 2021 Nations League and Gold Cup.

“I’ve only here a short amount of time, but already I feel a part of it and I feel a part of something bigger,” Balogun said after the match.

The U.S. was without Sergino Dest and Weston McKennie, both of whom were out for the match after picking up red cards in a fiery semifinal win over Mexico on Thursday. Interim coach B.J. Callaghan, still overseeing the team after Gregg Berhalter was rehired Friday, started Joe Scally and Brenden Aaronson in place of his two suspended players.

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“We’re looking beyond to the 2026 World Cup, and we need to perform in high-intensity knockout games,” Callaghan said. “That’s something that we learned from the World Cup.”

Richards kept the momentum from Thursday going for the U.S. with an early goal, powering a header from Giovanni Reyna’s corner kick past Milan Borjan in the Canada goal in the 12th minute.

The U.S. doubled its lead later in the first half with a classy finish from Balogun, who picked up a through ball from Reyna after a giveaway from Canada and fired past Borjan from a tight angle to notch his first goal for the Americans since committing his international future to the team.

The Brooklyn-born Balogun, 21, scored 22 goals in 39 games in all competitions for French League 1 club Reims last season, the most ever for an American in a top-five European league.

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In the consolation match earlier Sunday, Mexico held on to beat Panama 1-0 to take third place in the four-team final.

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