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Gold Cup Recap: USMNT 2 (3) - Canada 2 (2)
Matt Turner's goalkeeping books the USMNT a spot in the Concacaf Gold Cup semifinals!
The United States Men’s National Team returned to action Sunday night as they faced off against Canada in the Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals.
B.J. Callaghan and the USMNT entered the knockout stage of the Gold Cup after finishing top of Group A with seven points after a 1-1 draw against Jamaica in the opener, followed by back-to-back 6-0 wins over St. Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad & Tobago.
There was change from the Group Stage finale against Trinidad & Tobago as Matt Turner got the start in goal. DeJuan Jones, Jalen Neal, Miles Robinson, and Bryan Reynolds comprised the backline. Djordje Mihailovic, James Sands, and Gianluca Busio were in the midfield as Alejandro Zendejas, Jesús Ferreira, and Julian Gressel provided the attack.
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There were injury concerns in the opening minutes, but not for any player. As Canada attempted to dispossess the US, they booted the ball out of play and directly at the head of the assistant feet away. Play paused as the medical staff tended to the assistant, who could not continue.
Controversy then struck in the 42nd minute as a frustrated Lucas Cavallini laid a late tackle on James Sands as Cavallini’s studs spiked Sands in the lower leg. Surprisingly, Cavallini only received a yellow card for the dangerous infraction.
Controversy again struck in first-half stoppage time as Canada pleaded for a review of a possible handball by the United States in their box. After a VAR check, head referee Marco Ortiz went to the monitor. Despite the ball making clear contact with Miles Robison’s arm, Ortiz did not award the penalty as Moise Bombito shoved Gianluca Busio inside the box before the handball.
DeJuan Jones came close to notching his first international goal in the 68th minute as he darted into the box and attempted to head Julian Gressel’s cross into the box. Unfortunately, the Canadian defense beat Jones to the ball as they headed the ball away from danger.
Two changes came in the 73rd minute as Cincinnati’s own Brandon Vazquez and Matt Miazga came on for Jalen Neal and Djordje Mihailovic. Vazquez nearly had an instant impact as he looked to find the opening goal in the 75th minute. Unfortunately, his shot to the lower-right corner trailed to the right as it rolled out for a goal kick.
Jones got the United States offense rolling in the 88th minute as he drove up the left flank. The left back lobbed a ball forward into the box to a leaping Brandon Vazquez. Vazquez laid a perfect header as the ball sailed past St. Clair and into the back of the net to give the United States a 1-0 lead in the closing minutes.
Just when it looked as if the United States had booked their ticket to the semifinal, VAR had other plans as Ortiz was sent to the monitor to check a possible handball inside the box by Robinson once again. Unfortunately for the USMNT, the ball deflected off Robinson’s hand as he looked to pressure the Canadian offense, which left Marco Ortiz no choice but to award the penalty kick.
Steven Vitoria stepped to the spot as Matt Turner attempted to get into the Canadian’s head but Vitoria lasered a shot down the middle and into the net to tie things up in the closing seconds of the match.
90 minutes was not enough to separate both sides as the game headed to extra time. Callaghan used his final two substitutions before the start of extra time as Jordan Morris and Aaron Long came on for Julian Gressel and Miles Robinson.
Jacob Shaffelburg put on an offensive showcase in the 109th minute as he drove down the left flank and found himself one-on-one with Miazga. Shaffelburg sent a shot toward goal that deflected off Miazga’s calf and the deflected shot bent and curled to the right side of the net. Despite Matt Turner laying out to make the save, it was too far as the ball sailed into the net as Jacob Shaffelburg’s first international goal gave Canada a 2-1 lead late in extra time.
Just when it looked like the United States’ Gold Cup run was coming to an end, a lobbed ball from Turner led to Vazquez heading the ball centrally. After pinballing inside the box, Busio lasered a shot at St. Clair. While the Canadian goalkeeper made the save, it ricocheted off him and at Scott Kennedy, who deflected the ball into the net to tie the game for the United States.
Like regular time, extra time was not enough to separate either side as the Quarterfinal matchup headed to a shootout. It all came down to Charles-Andreas Brym, who needed to find the back of the net to keep the shootout alive.
Turner dove to his right as Brym sent a high shot centrally. The former New England Revolution goalkeeper watched the ball as it continued to rise. Fortunately, Brym’s shot was too high as it dinged off the crossbar and back into play as the United States advanced to the Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinal following a 3-2 shootout victory.
As his teammates rushed at him, Matt Turner took time to honor Malia Jusczyk, a Matt Turner superfan who passed away from pediatric cancer in June. Turner ripped off his jersey to reveal his undershirt with “R.I.P. Malia” written across it as he pointed to the sky.
Malia and Turner grew a special bond during Matt’s time in New England as Malia served as honorary captain several times. Following the win, Turner took to Twitter to post an image of the two hugging. Turner wrote “Rest in peace Malia thank you for smiling down on us all.”
The United States move on as they will now face Panama in the semifinals on Wednesday, July 12th, at 7:30 PM ET on FS1.