Folarin Balogun made his USMNT debut against Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League semifinal on Thursday. The Arsenal striker became the first American player to start vs on his debut against the El Tri since Juli Veee did it in 1976.
Balogun has been linked to a transfer to Serie A club Inter Milan as they look for a replacement for Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian is reportedly moving to Turkish side Fenerbahce.
Fans were excited about Balogun’s debut on Thursday.
“FOLARIN BALOGUN BETTER GO CRAZY AGAINST L TRI 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸” a Twitter user said.
“Folarin Balogun is the first @USMNT player to start on his debut against Mexico since Juli Veee did it in 1976. 🇺🇸” another one added.
Folarin Balogun on Instagram posted a picture of himself wrapped in the American flag. “Let’s go! 🇺🇸” he said in the caption.
An impactful debut will only boost the striker’s transfer chances. The New York-born player starred on loan for Arsenal and Reims this season. He was eligible to play for England and Nigeria. But he chose USMNT.
USMNT Starters: Turner, Dest, Richards, Robinson, Musah, Reyna, McKennie, Pulisic, Robinson, Balogun, Weah
Mexico Starters: Ochoa, Montes, Alvarez, Reyes, Pineda, Chavez, Sanchez, Martin, Antuna, Guzman, Rocha
Inter Milan sporting director Piero Ausilio is reportedly in London to finalize the Balogun deal. Arsenal are reportedly demanding a fee in the region of €40m (£34m).
“Specifically to Mexico, we have a great respect for them and we do understand that there’s a rivalry and the rivalry can ebb and flow with results, but that never changes the way that we approach an opponent of their caliber,” USMNT head coach said ahead of the Mexico game.