The United States Men’s National Team faced off against Canada as they looked to advance to the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals once again. The USMNT won their group with seven points, using two wins over St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago to help them finish top.
Canada finished second in Group D behind Guatemala with 5 points, drawing twice and defeating Cuba in their final match. The last time these two teams faced off was a few weeks ago in the Concacaf Nations League final, where the United States was able to defeat Canada 2-0.
This match was not as easy as the Nations League final for the USMNT, as extra time was needed with the match being tied 1-1 at the end of regulation. Both sides would also score in extra time, taking the match to penalty kicks with a score of 2-2.
The USMNT would eventually end up victorious in penalty kicks, meaning that the team would be advancing to their 16th overall appearance in the Gold Cup semifinals. The Red, White, and Blue will be facing off against Panama to try and move on to the finals.
USMNT’s Starting XI
Manager B.J. Callaghan with the same 4-3-3 formation that was used in the previous match against Trinidad and Tobago, with almost the same lineup as well. The only change for the Canada match was Julian Gressel coming in for Cristian Roldan on the left side of the top three. With this one change in the lineup, the Starting XI for the match against Canada went as follows:
Turner, Jones, Neal, Robinson, Reynolds, Busio, Sands, Mihailovic, Zendejas, Gressel, Ferreira.
The USMNT had 11 possible substitutes on the bench for the match, and they went as follows: Cowell, Vazquez, Miazga, Roldan, Morris, Yueill, Long, Yedlin, Tolkin, Slonina, and Johnson. This starting eleven seems to be close to what B.J. Callaghan has used for most of the tournament so far, so it is not a surprise to see him trust the same players when it comes to the first match of the knockout stages.
Late Drama in Regular Time
The first 85 minutes of this match were not the most exciting, to say the least, with not that many chances being brought on by both sides. But that all changed in the 88th minute due to Brandon Vazquez, the FC Cincinnati product. The 24-year-old came on in the 73rd minute, as B.J. Callaghan was looking for the USMNT attack to improve. Vazquez would score about 15 minutes later, as he would give the United States a 1-0 lead in the 88th minute. Vazquez would connect with a fantastic cross into the box by DeJuan Jones to send it past St. Clair.
But while everyone thought that this was the match-winner for the United States, it was in fact not. Canada would be given a penalty in stoppage time, after a Miles Robinson handball in the box. Steven Vitoria would send it right down the middle and convert as Matt Turner would dive to his right. This would make the score 1-1, and it would stay the same for the remainder of the match, as it would go to extra time.
Multiple Goals in Extra Time
The first half of extra time did not produce any goals in the match, but the second half did not disappoint at all. In the 109th minute, Jacob Shaffelburg of Nashville SC would score to give Canada the 2-1 lead. The 23-year-old made a fantastic run with the ball down the USMNT half and would connect on a solid finish. It was Shaffelburg’s first goal for Canada, and what a time to score it.
While it seemed likely that Canada would win the match with the goal, the United States was not done yet. Constant attacking led to a shot for Gianluca Busio in the 114th minute, leading to an own goal by Canadian defender Scott Kennedy. This goal would equalize the match for the USMNT, and it would stay that way, so penalty kicks it was.
Penalty Kicks to Determine the Winner
With the match tied at two apiece after extra time, it would be penalty kicks that would determine who would be going to the semifinals to face off against Panama on Wednesday night. The United States would have Matt Turner in net, who has been known for his dominance in penalty shootouts, and Turner would play well once again. The Arsenal player would end up with two penalty saves in the shootout, helping the USMNT move on in the tournament.
Cade Cowell, Gianluca Busio, and Jesus Ferreira converted their penalties for the United States, leading to a final penalty from Charles-Andreas Brym. Brym needed to convert for Canada to have any chance of winning, but he would end up hitting the underside of the crossbar, which brought delight to the entire USMNT team and their supporters.
Up Next for the United States
With this win over Canada, the United States will be moving onto the semifinals of the Gold Cup where they will be facing off against Panama. Panama was able to easily handle Qatar in the quarterfinals, defeating them by a score of 4-0.
Ismael Diaz scored a hat trick for Panama, while Edgar Barcenas scored the other. During the group stages, Panama finished first in Group C with 7 points, defeating Martinique and Costa Rica, and drawing against El Salvador. It will be a tough match for the USMNT, as Panama has shown to be a tough side to beat throughout the Gold Cup, but we will see how everyone goes down on Wednesday at 7:30 PM EST in San Diego.
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Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/Michael Conroy & Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire