USMNT Advances to Gold Cup Semifinal with Thrilling Shootout Victory against Canada

In an exhilarating quarterfinal clash in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup, the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) overcame Canada in a penalty shootout after a dramatic 2-2 draw in extra time. Goalkeeper Matt Turner was the hero of the shootout, making two crucial saves to secure the victory for the USMNT. Let’s review the match and the standout performances that propelled the team to the semifinals.

The match began with an unfortunate incident as assistant referee Christian Espinosa was hit in the face by a fiercely struck ball in the first minute. After an extended delay, Caleb Wales took over as the replacement assistant referee.

The first half was defined by tension and caution, with both teams showing defensive resilience. The USMNT had the first notable chance in the 26th minute when Julian Gressel’s corner kick caused chaos in the Canadian penalty area, but Jesús Ferreira’s effort was blocked.

Canada had an opportunity in the dying moments of the first half, but Junior Hoilett’s cross was sent over the crossbar by Bryan Reynolds. The half ended with a VAR review for a potential handball on Miles Robinson, which was ultimately waved off due to an earlier push in the build-up.

The second half saw increased intensity from both sides. The USMNT piled on the pressure, with Gianluca Busio forcing a fine save from the Canadian goalkeeper in the 69th minute. Brandon Vazquez, a second-half substitute, came close to scoring but narrowly missed the target.

In the 88th minute, Vazquez made his mark in front of his FC Cincinnati home crowd, heading home a perfectly delivered cross from DeJuan Jones to give the USMNT a late lead. However, Canada responded swiftly, capitalizing on a penalty kick awarded for a handball by Miles Robinson. Steven Vitoria converted the spot-kick, forcing the match into extra time.

In the 109th minute, Canada took the lead through Jacob Shaffelburg’s deflected shot. But the USMNT fought back just five minutes later when Gianluca Busio’s effort resulted in an own goal by Scott Kennedy, leveling the score at 2-2.

With neither team able to break the deadlock in extra time, the match proceeded to a penalty shootout. Matt Turner emerged as the hero, saving Canada’s first two penalties from Vitoria and Liam Fraser. Cade Cowell, Busio, and Jesús Ferreira converted their spot kicks for the USMNT, while Charles-Andreas Brym hit the crossbar with Canada’s final attempt, securing a thrilling 3-2 shootout win for the Americans.

Matt Turner’s outstanding performance in goal earned him the Bud Light Man of the Match honors. His two penalty saves were crucial in securing the USMNT’s victory and advancing them to the semifinals. Turner’s shot-stopping ability and composure under pressure were instrumental in the shootout.

Brandon Vazquez, playing in front of his FC Cincinnati home crowd, made a significant impact as a second-half substitute. His well-timed header in the 88th minute gave the USMNT the lead and showcased his aerial prowess.

Gianluca Busio was influential in midfield, contributing to the team’s attacking threat. His efforts led to his own goal that equalized the match in extra time, showcasing his ability to create opportunities and make decisive contributions.

The USMNT’s shootout victory against Canada in the Gold Cup quarterfinals was a thrilling and hard-fought battle. The resilience and determination displayed by the team, along with standout performances from goalkeeper Matt Turner and substitute Brandon Vazquez, played pivotal roles in securing the victory.

As the USMNT progresses to the semifinals, they will face Panama in what promises to be another exciting encounter. With their confidence boosted by this dramatic win, the USMNT will look to continue their journey toward clinching the CONCACAF Gold Cup title.

Again, a HUGE Thank You to my friend Tanner Kremer (@tkremer10) for supplying us with his photos from the match; I am truly grateful for his contributions. Make sure to stick to Bluegrass Soccer Cast (@BGSoccerCast on all social media platforms) for full coverage of USMNT and everything soccer in our beautiful Commonwealth. 

Photo by: USMNT


  • Jimmie Martin

    Jimmie Martin is a charismatic soccer podcast host from Kentucky who passionately advocates for Promotion and Relegation in US Soccer. With infectious enthusiasm and a lighthearted sense of humor, he engages fellow enthusiasts on the Bluegrass Soccer Cast. Jimmie's goal is to promote the growth of soccer in the US while entertaining and educating his audience.

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USMNT Advances to Gold Cup Semifinal with Thrilling Shootout Victory against Canada

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