Zardes late strike sends U.S. to Final

The United States men’s national team advanced to their third consecutive Concacaf Gold Cup Final after a 1-0 semifinal victory over tournament guests Qatar, in front of a sold-out audience of 20,500 at Q2.

The AFC Asian Cup champions were a threat early, with their first dangerous opportunity coming from a Hassan Al-Haydos interception in the seventh minute. Qatar’s captain provided a filtering pass from the right to the left edge of the box, but Almoez Ali could not convert.

U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner then came up with an important save in the 19th minute by pushing away a deflected attempt from Qatar’s attack.

Turner came up with another pivotal save two minutes later, denying Abdulaziz Hatem on this occasion. The Qatari forward attempted to capitalize on a second chance opportunity after a pass from Akram Afif was deflected.

The U.S. had an opportunity in the 43rd minute via a free kick, as an attempt from Gianluca Busio found Daryl Dike, but Qatar goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham captured the ball for safe keeping.

In the 52nd minute, Matthew Hoppe provided a pass that cut through the defense and into the box, but Dike was denied the finishing touch.

The U.S. evaded danger in the 62nd minute as Qatar missed an opportunity to score the opening goal when a penalty attempt by Al-Haydos went over the top post.

The Qatar penalty miss sparked the U.S. attack, and they came close to an opener in the 78th minute when Hoppe found Sam Vines running into the box, but the U.S. defender would be blocked from scoring as Qatar recovered and immediately cleared. 

The match-winning goal would finally arrive in the 86th minute of play, as a pressing U.S. team recovered the ball deep in the Qatar half and went on the counter. Gyazi Zardes found the winner by pushing a shot into the net off a cross from Nicholas Gioacchini, sending the U.S. to Sunday’s Final.