CINCINNATI — Goaltender Matt Turner saved two crucial penalty shootouts as the United States defeated Canada 2-2 (3-2) and advanced to the Gold Cup semifinals.
“The way he makes big games [stands out]said interim US coach BJ Callaghan. “He started in the game against Jamaica. He’s the captain guiding us at the moment. Those are the moments when you expect big players to step up.”
After USA conceded just one goal in three group stage games, Canada scored twice after the first 90 minutes of play on Sunday night. Steven Vitoria beat Turner in the middle with a penalty in added time before Jacob Shaffelburg gave Canada a 2-1 lead in the 109th minute. An own goal by Canadian Scott Kennedy made it 2-2 in the 115th minute.
Turner took revenge on penalties against Vitoria. Vitoria was the first player to kick the ball, and in turn went to Turner in the middle.
“A lot of penalties that I’d seen in my archways or in my prep, most of these guys were off the field by the time the pins were there,” Turner said. “I just trusted my instincts, and when I do that, I usually have a lot more success.”
This time the Arsenal goalkeeper was ready and parried the shot with a right hand to give USA a boost. After Brandon Vázquez missed for USA, Turner dove left to parry a Liam Fraser shot and USA didn’t look back.
Cade Cowell, Gianluca Busio and Jesús Ferreira all scored for the USA, who went 3-2 up in the fifth round when Canada’s Charles-Andreas Brym hit the bar and secured the USA victory.
“These are the high-stakes, high-impact games that we want to play because they test the character of the group, and tonight we showed up,” Callaghan said.
Turner was the only survivor in the starting XI against Canada in last month’s Nations League.
The Americans have reached the Gold Cup semifinals 12 times in a row. For the first time since losing to Panama in the 2015 Gold Cup third-place game, the Americans went through a shootout and improved to 5-4 in games decided on penalties.
The USMNT now meets Panama in the semifinals in San Diego on Wednesday evening.
The US-Panama winner qualifies for the July 16 championship game against either Mexico or Jamaica at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.