The Gold Cup final on Sunday will be Mexico and the United States after El Tri earned a heart-pumping 2-1 win over Canada on Thursday night in the second semifinal. With the U.S. beating Qatar 1-0 in the first semifinal, Concacaf will get their rematch after Mexico and the U.S. played in the Nations League final in June, which the Americans won.
In a match that appeared headed for extra time, it was Hector Herrera who scored in the ninth minute of stoppage time to send Gerardo Martino's team back to the final. It was a physical, heated match where a red card or two would have been justified, yet both teams finished with 11 players. After Herrera's goal, a brawl looked likely to break out as players had to be broken up before matters got worse, with several on both sides losing their cool.
Herrera, who was the rock in the middle all night for Mexico, scored the winner with a lovely finish inside the box off a pass from Rodolfo Pizarro.
As a result, fans will get a rematch of the 2019 Gold Cup, which Mexico won 1-0. On this night, El Tri were the stronger team throughout, and they were able to take the first lead of the game in first-half added time on a penalty kick from Orbelin Pineda.
With the favorites looking in full control, Canada was going to need a magical moment from somebody in attack to draw level, and they did that rather quickly. Just over 10 minutes into the second half, New England Revolution talent Tajon Buchanan scored his first ever goal for Canada with a tidy finish to the far post after some filthy skill moves inside the box.
The rest of the way, both teams had their chances, Mexico especially, but it was Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau who stole the show until the late goal. The 27-year-old keeper saved a penalty kick from Carlos Salcedo before denying Rodolfo Pizarro late with a great reaction save off a header from close.
But Mexico kept going forward in numbers looking to avoid extra time, with Herrera becoming the hero.
As is usually the case, the title will go once again to either the U.S. or Mexico. Every single edition of the cup has been won by one of those two sides except the 2000 edition, which was won by Canada.