Mon, 27 Sep 2021

Gyasi Zardes plays hero as USMNT reaches Gold Cup final

Field Level Media
30 Jul 2021, 12:05 GMT+10

Gyasi Zardes' goal in the 86th minute sent the U.S. men's national team to the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup after a 1-0 semifinal victory against Qatar in Austin, Texas, on Thursday.

The U.S. will play in Las Vegas on Sunday against the Mexico-Canada winner from later Thursday.

Zardes entered the match in the 63rd minute and the Columbus Crew forward scored his 14th international goal off a counter after pressure created a turnover.

Nicholas Gioacchini, an 81st-minute substitute, raced down the left flank then sent a cutback pass to the box where Zardes slid and made contact with his right foot for the redirect.

The U.S. made the final for the 12th time in 16 Gold Cups. Its most recent of six championships was 2017. Mexico has eight titles and Canada captured the top prize in 2000.

Matt Turner made all three of his saves in the first half for the USMNT.

The match turned to the Americans' way in the 61st minute when Hassan Al Haydos missed a penalty kick after video review ruled that defender James Sands fouled Akram Afif. Al Haydos did a stutter step then put the ball well over the crossbar.

While the Qatar starting lineup Thursday averaged 70 international games, the U.S. averaged 13 with an average age of 23 years, 284 days.

If not for Turner of the New England Revolution, the U.S. would have been trailing at the half after being outshot 13-3. One of his saves stopped a potential own goal.

Turner made a diving fingertip stop after Sands inadvertently redirected a shot with his left foot in the 19th minute. Barely two minutes later, another deflected ball from outside the box landed inside to an unmarked Abdelaziz Hatim and Turner again dove to his left to get his hand on the attempt.

Qatar's Meshaal Barsham (three saves) came up big just prior to the penalty when he stopped a Daryl Dike try from the center of the box.

-- Field Level Media

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