CONCACAF Gold Cup: USMNT survives wild match, beats Canada in penalty kicks to reach semifinals

United States goalie Matt Turner picked up several huge saves during the penalty kick shootout

The USMNT will advance to take on Panama in the semifinals on Wednesday. (Photo by John Dorton/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)
The USMNT will advance to take on Panama in the semifinals on Wednesday. (Photo by John Dorton/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

It took a late goal and a huge stand from goalie Matt Turner during a penalty kick shootout, but the U.S. men’s national team survived Sunday night.

The United States beat Canada 2-2 (3-2 in penalty kicks) in their CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals match at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. That sent the Americans into the semifinals and saved them from what would've been a historic upset loss to Canada.

The Americans played their way into penalty kicks with a wild goal in the final minutes of extra time. Turner then saved Canada's first two penalty kick attempts, and Canada’s Charles-Andréas Brym hit the crossbar with his final attempt — which sealed the win.

“I thought you watched two really good teams just kind of battle it out,” U.S. interim coach B.J. Callaghan said after the match on Fox. “The first half was a little bit slow. It got off to an awkward start. We weren’t able to get really any rhythm into the game. The second half I was really proud of the group. They were able to push and push … I was super proud of these guys, of how they responded, and the contributions we got off the bench was tremendous."

It looked like Canada was going to sneak away with a win and snap the United States’ 28-match win streak against CONCACAF opponents on home soil early in extra time.

Jacob Schaffelburg, in the 108th minute, made an incredible move up the left side of the field and snuck his goal into the opposite side of the net — which gave Canada its first lead of the game at 2-1.

It marked just the second time the United States has ever trailed in a Gold Cup quarterfinals match.

But just like in regulation, Canada’s lead didn’t last long. Gianluca Busio scored the equalizer — which technically went in off of Canada’s Scott Kennedy after goalie Dayne St. Clair picked up the initial stop — to tie the game right back up in the 114th minute.

That led to the penalty kicks and, eventually, the United States' win.

“We immediately got ourselves lined up [after Canada's goal], and everyone was talking about how we’re going to go after the goal and get it," Callaghan said. “Again, these are the moments. These are the high-stakes, high-impact games that we’re looking to play because they test the character of the group, and tonight we showed up.”

Brandon Vázquez nearly won the match for the United States at the end of regulation. After what was a very slow and sometimes tense first half, Vázquez timed a pass from DeJuan Jones perfectly and headed the ball in to finally get the Americans on the board in the 88th minute.

Vázquez, who plays for FC Cincinnati in MLS, has scored three times so far in the tournament.

That 1-0 lead didn’t last long. Canada quickly tied things up in stoppage time after Steven Vitória drilled a penalty kick after a review determined that Miles Robinson touched the ball with his hand in the box. That goal, Vitória’s fifth international score, sent the match into extra time.

The USMNT rolled through the group stage without any issue. It capped an undefeated run with a huge 6-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday. That gave them 13 goals in the group stage, which marked the most the team has ever put up in pool play in the tournament. That followed a 6-0 win over St. Kitts and Nevis and a 1-1 draw with Jamaica last month.

Canada snuck through the group stage to reach the knockout round. Canada opened pool play with draws against Guadeloupe and Guatemala before beating Cuba 4-2 to take a runner-up finish in the group.

With the win, the United States will take on Panama on Wednesday. Panama beat Qatar easily in their quarterfinals match Saturday. On the other side of the bracket, Mexico moved into the semifinals with a 2-0 win over Costa Rica on Saturday. They'll take on Jamaica, who beat Guatemala in their quarterfinal match earlier Sunday.

Although much of Sunday's performance wasn't great, the United States picked up the win. In the knockout stage, that's really all that matters.