Isaac Ortiz/Agencia-MexSport/Imago

Gold Cup Quarter-Final As It Happened: USA 2-2 (3-2p.) Canada

12 minutes, 14 seconds Read

Following a 2-2 draw, the USMNT successfully advanced past Canada in the quarter-finals of the 2023 Gold Cup through a penalty shootout, aided by Matt Turner’s outstanding performance in goal, where he saved two penalty kicks.

Brandon Vazquez seemed to have secured another crucial late goal with his opener just two minutes before the end of regular time. However, Canada took advantage of a handball by Miles Robinson three minutes into stoppage time, allowing Steven Vitoria to equalize from the penalty spot and force the match into extra time.

In the additional period, both teams managed to find the back of the net. Jacob Shaffelburg, who came off the bench, put Canada in the lead, but their advantage was short-lived as Scott Kennedy scored an own goal minutes later, nullifying their lead.

We take a closer look at how it all went down, the context of some of the key plays within the flow of the game, and what it means for the team going forward.

Team USA (4-3-3): 1. Turner (GK) — 5. Reynolds (Roldan, 113′), 20. Neal (Miazga, 73′), 12. M. Robinson (Long, 91′), 15. D. Jones – 14. Mihailovic (Vazquez, 73′), 8. Sands, 6. Busio — 17. Zendejas (Cowell, 62′), 9. Ferreira, 22. Gressel (Morris, 91′).

BJ Callaghan sees minimal alterations in the final group stage matches. Bryan Reynolds and DeJuan Jones maintain their positions as full-backs, and Djordje Mihailovic and Gianluca Busio remain in the midfield. The sole modification involves Julian Gressel replacing Jordan Morris, who isn’t match fit, on the wing while Cade Cowell remains on the bench.

First-half begins:

Canada kicks us off at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati to conclude the last Quarter-Final game of this 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign. Within the first minute, the game will halt to check on the linesman who went down after being struck in the face by the ball.

The linesman, Christian Espinosa, has been struck in the face by a point-blank clearance from Canadian defender Kamal Miller. He is receiving medical attention, and there is evident concern for his well-being. Blood can be seen coming from his nose, and a concussion test is being conducted as a precautionary measure.

Roughly ten minutes were wasted as the linesman was taken off for treatment and eventually was allowed to come back to officiate the contest – the game resumes.

The goal fest and the sheer entertainment shown on the group stage truly spoiled the Yank ultras, whereas here, in the opening 20 minutes, it’s been so dull. In their defense, Canada is more challenging than the American’s previous two oppositions, but still a considerable dropoff. The “no chemistry” excuse can only go so far.

Richie Laryea is brought down after being slightly clipped by Jalen Neal in the 25th minute, and Canada asks for a penalty, but the official declines. The correct call is made, and VAR does not step in because it is a very soft shout. After all, Neal was hardly even challenging and knew nothing about it—still, a moment where the American Outlaws held their breaths.

Both sides are playing a bit sloppy, with missed passes displayed.

Good chance for the U.S. in the 39th minute as Jesus Ferreira drifted out wide and sent a threatening low cross to the far post during a substantial period of attacking possession for the United States. On the doorstep, Gianluca Busio rises to head the ball but is knocked back, forcing the Americans to restart their attack. Canada survived perhaps the best American buildup to date.

Lucas Cavallini receives a yellow card for a tough challenge on James Sands in minute 42, and there are rumblings of a possible red card. With his studs up, he does catch Sands on the side of the ankle, but it probably isn’t high enough on the leg to result in a red card. Cavallini is fortunate not to be expelled because some officials might be tempted to follow the red line there.

As expected, the fourth official raised the board to signal ten additional minutes due to the early concussion scare.

More nervy moments for the United States as Bryan Reynolds almost scores himself, but the ball sails over the crossbar! When Reynolds receives a cross from Junior Hoilett while running back, he attempts to put it out for a corner, but it is much too close for comfort, almost leading to his own goal.

For a VAR review of what appears to be a possible handball by Miles Robinson, the play has been halted in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

After a comprehensive review, the official declared no penalty because Moises Bombito cost it for Canada by pushing Gianluca Busio, invalidating the handball. Robinson is exceptionally fortunate despite the uncertain circumstances.

More time was added to the lengthy stoppage clock, but nothing important to note.

The first half ends with a bit of a scuffle; it seems like Steven Vitoria and a few other Canadian players squared off with Gianluca Busio and Jesus Ferreira, however, no one was disciplined.

A very cagey and sloppy affair in this Quarter-final tie between the two neighbors. Very messy from both ends, but Canada will be the happier of the two going into the half goalless.

The Canadian low block is certainly giving BJ Callaghan’s men a tough time, and a tactical tweak may be needed to drag the Canadians out of position.

Second-half begins:

The USMNT continued where they left off with all the ball possession, asking the questions, but none were answered.

Kamal Miller has now received a booking in the 58th minute, which means he could potentially face a suspension for the semifinal. Surprisingly, it was a beneficial foul, preventing Gianluca Busio from having a clear shot at the goal. The situation was so evident that it even appeared to be a potential last-man foul, but the referee correctly made the appropriate decision.

A terrifying moment for both Matt Turner and Miles Robinson as a miss communication of who gets the ball almost led to a catastrophic result. Thankfully, the Canadian press wasn’t on.

Cade Cowell enters for Alex Zendejas as the first American substitute.

Another messed-up opportunity for the U.S. in the 68th minute as Canada fails to clear a delivery properly as Gianluca Busio sees his initial shot blocked. He takes another crack, but Dayne St. Clair gets down for a great save.

Cade Cowell makes a fantastic, erratic run through midfield, which is precisely what he was added for, but when it comes time to take the shot, he makes a terrible mistake and sends the ball weakly wide with just 20 minutes left of the 90.

The TQL Stadium crowd erupts as F.C. Cincinnati players Brandon Vazquez and Matt Miazga take the field in front of their club soccer fans in the 72nd minute. They have been anticipating the arrival of their guys. As a result of Djordje Mihailovic’s withdrawal, Jesus Ferreira transitions to the No. 10 position, which he did successfully against Trinidad & Tobago.

With his first touch of the game, Brandon Vazquez almost scored within two minutes of coming on! With his back to the goal, Cade Cowell fed him, and the F.C. Cincinnati striker knew he had to get rid of it quickly. He did, but his volley was just agonizingly off to the right. The injection the United States required was precisely that.

Canada is unable to release the pressure. After doing well to stop a counterattack and keep the ball in the Canada half, Brandon Vazquez applies pressure to Dayne St. Clair, resulting in a turnover that is no longer in play. Although the U.S. has not yet converted this pressure, there is still time if it continues.

Gianluca Busio is set free by Cade Cowell in the 87th minute, and he expertly directs a cross to Julian Gressel at the far post. The opportunity is only thwarted by Kamal Miller’s courageous defense; he does exceptionally well to beat Gressel to the headed chance.

The Cincinnati striker super sub does it again and scores late for the U.S. at his home stadium in the 88th minute! He got the late equalizer off the bench against Jamaica, and he may have also cut down Canada with another very late goal! It comes off a brilliant feed from DeJuan Jones, who sends it on the doorstep from very deep, and Vazquez puts it away.

We have another handball video review, and Miles Robinson is featured again. Robinson extends his arm and makes contact with the ball on an opponent’s chest just inches inside the penalty area, and it’s trouble for the United States.

The referee checks the monitor, and this time the Atlanta United defender isn’t so lucky and gives Canada a penalty! It’s a reasonable and ethical decision. Robinson is extremely unlucky, but he does reach for the ball with his arm and make contact.

Junior Hoilett, Canada’s regular penalty taker, is not present on the field, so center-back Steven Vitoria steps up to take. He buries the penalty past Matt Turner, who cannot make the save despite diving at the right spot, one-all three minutes into injury time.

Canada is starting to find their footing after the late equalizer, but they’ll settle for 30 minutes of extra time.

End of regulation time:

After 15 minutes of intense pressure, it seemed like Brandon Vazquez had finally helped the United States win the game, but a handball by Miles Robinson allowed Canada to draw even.

A very sleepy hour of play transformed into pure carnage, which certainly woke up the viewers, including myself.

First-half of E.T. begins:

Extra time is now in motion. After the late equalizer, the U.S. must work hard to regain momentum, while Canada appeared fired up.

Jacob Russell-Rowe nearly gives Canada the lead by directing the feed from the left over the crossbar. The Canadian threat is still there, and the U.S. backline needs to be on high alert.

St. Clair makes a brilliant, acrobatic save to tip Matt Miazga’s excellent flicked header over the crossbar in the 104th minute. Incredible stop!

End of First half of E.T.:

It has been end-to-end stuff, like the end of the second half of regulation time. Both sides deserve a goal, but we have another 15 minutes to go and possibly penalties.

Second half of E.T. begins:

Gianluca Busio has plenty of room to put the United States ahead in the 107th minute, but he smashes the ball straight at the goalkeeper. The Venezia man was allowed to score when Brandon Vazquez won a header by outmuscling two defenders. Still, the Canadian goalkeeper was up to the challenge—a good opportunity wasted once again.

Jacob Shaffelburg scored a fantastic solo goal for Canada in the 108th minute, coming off the bench, which ultimately paid off. After defeating a feeble challenge from Jesus Ferreira, he scores through the legs of Matt Miazga while deflecting the ball off the defender’s calf; 2-1 Canada.

To maintain this lead for the next ten minutes, Canada is now up against a very low block from the United States. For the Americans, Bryan Reynolds will be replaced by Cristian Roldan.

THE USMNT ARE BACK LEVEL IN THE 115th minute! Matt Miazga directs a header into the crowded area, where Jordan Morris skillfully brings it down. Gianluca Busio unleashes a powerful shot, only to be denied by an impressive kick-save from Dayne St. Clair. However, as the ball ricochets around, it unintentionally rebounds off a defender and finds its way into the net, resulting in an own goal. Scott Kennedy is attributed with the unfortunate own-goal.

What a game this contest turned out to be, eh? So electrifying!

End of E.T.:

The final semifinal participant of the 2023 Gold Cup will be determined through a penalty shootout. Canada will take the first penalty, followed by the USA.

As the shootout is about to commence, both teams engage in heated exchanges, refusing to back down despite the referees’ attempts to intervene. Eventually, Canada complies with the referee’s instructions and moves back, prompting the U.S. team to do the same.

Start of Penalty Shootout:

Steven Vitoria is the first to step up for the Canadians, and it is SAVED BY MATT TURNER. He punches the ball aimed at the center of the goal, and the Arsenal man doesn’t even flinch. The USA holds the early advantage.

Brandon Vazquez is the first American to step up, and his attempt flies over the crossbar; the early advantage is gone!

Liam Frasier is Canada’s second taker, and he sees his shot SAVED BY MATTY TURNER ONCE AGAIN! It’s like no one wants to score tonight!

Cade Cowell is next up, and the 19-year-old SCORES. 1-0 to the U.S. after two rounds.

Kamal Miller is next up for the Canadians, and he finally dispatches one, but Turner isn’t far away from it.

Gianluca Busio steps up and absolutely smashes one into the upper right corner. St. Clair stood no chance of saving that. 2-1 to the USA after three rounds.

The Columbus Crew youngster, Jacob Russel-Rowe, is up next for the Canadians and calmly slots it in, forcing Turner to dive to the opposite side.

Jesus Ferreira steps up to take the American’s fourth penalty and just barely scored, St. Clair got a hand to it, but it had enough power to escape his grasp. 3-2 to the U.S. after the fourth round, and Canada must score their following penalty to stay in it.

Charles-Andreas Brym is the man to take Canada’s fifth penalty, and he hits the crossbar! THE UNITED STATES ADVANCE TO THE SEMIFINALS!

This match was a true spectacle, showcasing an incredible level of chaos, disorder, and unpredictability, even by CONCACAF standards. It was a contest filled with numerous peculiar and extraordinary moments. Surprisingly, all four goals in the match were scored in the final few minutes, adding to the overall madness and excitement of the game.

My Man of the Match once again goes to Matt Turner for his heroics in the shootout.

Less than 72 hours after their arduous encounter, the United States progressed to the semifinals, where they will face Panama, who defeated Qatar 4-0 to reach the final four—a formidable challenge. The semifinal match is scheduled to commence at 8:00 p.m. E.T. on Wednesday, taking place at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California.

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Abdul Abdullahi

University Student from Ohio. Massive soccer/football fan and love talking about the beautiful game. Covering anything Chelsea FC and Americans at home and abroad. At the start of his long journey taking one step at a time.

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