The United States men's national team is through to the Gold Cup final prevailing in a physical, dramatic and hectic 1-0 semifinal win over Qatar on Thursday. Archrival Mexico now awaits them in Sundays final after El Tri beat Canada 2-1 on a last-minute winner from Hector Herrera.
The Americans were outplayed thoroughly in the first half, outshot by 10, but an inspired Matt Turner kept his team in it with two brilliant saves in goal. In the second half, the U.S. battled back, and coach Gregg Berhalter got it right, making two substitutions that changed the game.
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Gyasi Zardes came on for Daryl Dike in the 63rd minute, and then Nicholas Gioacchini came on in the 81st. Those two combined for the winner just five minutes after Gioacchini came on, with the Caen striker recovering the ball, playing a little combo and then setting up Zardes for a fairly comfortable winning goal. Take a look:
The goal had been coming with the U.S. taking control in the second half, but tired legs and an open pitch saw the result hang in the balance until then. From that moment on, them U.S. never looked like conceding, seeing out the match to make it back to the Gold Cup final.
Qatar, who were invited to the tournament and will host next year's World Cup, saw their run come to an end despite being given every chance to take home the win. Hassan Al-Haydos missed a penalty kick on the hour-mark that would have given Qatar a 1-0 lead, but instead he tried a cheeky little chip and paid dearly for it, sending the ball over the goal.
The U.S. had more possession, were sharper in their passing and did enough to win despite once again lacking creativity. In five matches at the Gold Cup so far for the U.S., all of which were victories, four of them have finished with a 1-0 scoreline.