The Yanks got everything they could handle and then some from a Qatar side that had shown itself as one of the most dynamic attacking sides in the tournament and racked up plenty of chances throughout the match, including a crucial missed penalty kick in the second half that would have given them a go-ahead goal. In the end, Zardes played the hero role after entering as a second-half substitute, slotting home his 14th international goal in the 86th minute to ensure the US would advance.
The first came in the 19th minute after a deflection off James Sands nearly went in for an own goal, but was parried away by Turner at the last moment. Turner then one-upped himself just two minutes later when a deflected shot gave Qatar’s Khoukhi Boualem a golden chance from point-blank range that he put on target, only to see it get denied by a highlight-reel diving save from Turner in which the US backstop went full extension.
The guest nation and reigning Asian champions continued to apply the pressure, ultimately outshooting the Yanks 13-3 in the first half, but the USMNT managed to get the game to halftime in a scoreless deadlock.
Daryl Dike nearly struck for an opener for the host nation just on the other side of the halftime whistle. The Orlando City SC striker got on the end of a pinpoint feed from Matthew Hoppe, but saw his close-range shot denied by a kick-save from Qatar goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham.
The USMNT looked like they would pay for the missed opportunity, as Qatar’s Akram Afif drew a penalty kick on Sands the other end just minutes later. The call wasn’t awarded originally, but referee Juan Calderón pointed for a spot kick on Video Review. Qatar’s Hassan Al Haydos lined up the look from the spot, but missed the attempt with a panenka that sailed just over the crossbar, improbably keeping the match scoreless.
It would stay that way all the way until the 86th minute, when Zardes struck for the dramatic late winner. The Columbus Crew forward was the beneficiary of a great run into the box and feed from Nicholas Gioacchini, slotting home the decisive tally for the goal that sent the Yanks through to the confederation championship’s final.
- 86′ – USA – Gyasi Zardes | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: They had to work for every bit of it, but in the end, credit to the Yanks for a gutsy win that has them in another Gold Cup final. Topping this Qatar side is no small feat, as the guest nation showcased their high-level talent throughout the run to the semifinals and in this match, which was an entertaining and end-to-end contest for much of the night. Ultimately, thanks to Zardes’ late heroics, the Yanks now find themselves one game from another trophy.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The missed PK by Al Haydos was the turning point, but the late game-winner from Zardes was the decisive moment that set off a wild scene in Austin.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Without the first-half heroics of Matt Turner, the USMNT likely would have been down by at least one goal going into halftime. Instead, the Revs’ backstop came through with the type of saves that have seen him emerge as arguably the best goalkeepers in MLS.
- USA: Sunday, August 1 vs. Canada or Mexico | 8:30 pm ET (FS1) | Concacaf Gold Cup Final
- QAT: End of tournament