CINCINNATI – Matt Turner told his American teammates not to worry when their match against Canada went to penalty kicks.
“He had the last word before we went out to the field,” U.S. interim coach B.J. Callaghan said. “It’s just encouraging the guys to stay calm, stay committed to what they’ve practiced.”
Turner stopped two penalty kicks, and the American beat Canada 3-2 in the shootout after a 2-2 draw Sunday night for a berth in a CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal against Panama. The U.S. had not won a shootout since 2005.
“A lot of the penalties that I had seen on my sheets or in my preparation, most of those guys were off the pitch by the time the pens were there,” Turner said. “I just trusted my instincts, really, and typically when I do that, I find myself having a lot more success.”
Brandon Vázquez gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the 88th minute, but Steven Vitória tied the score in the third minute of stoppage time with a penalty kick after a hand ball on Miles Robinson. Jacob Shaffelburg put Canada ahead in the 109th but an own goal by Canada's Scott Kennedy made it 2-2 in the 115th.
Turner stopped Vitória's opening penalty kick with his right hand when Vitória shot down the middle, as he did in regulation. Vázquez skied his attempt over the crossbar and Turner dived left to bat away Liam Fraser's attempt.
“He's a really settling force at the back for the U.S.,” Canada coach John Herdman said. “He's got wonderful feet. He's game management is very good, and he can save penalties.”
Cade Cowell, Gianluca Busio and Jesús Ferreira all converted for the U.S. while Kamal Miller and Jacen Russell-Rowe made shots for Canada. Charles-Andreas Brym put Canada's final attempt off the crossbar.
The U.S.-Panama winner on Wednesday at San Diego advances to the championship match on July 16 against Mexico or Jamaica at Inglewood, California.
The Americans have reached 12 straight Gold Cup semifinals. Going to a shootout for the first time since losing to Panama in the 2015 Gold Cup third-place game, the Americans improved to 5-4 in games decided by penalty kicks, including 5-2 in competitive matches. They had not won a shootout since beating Panama in the 2005 Gold Cup final.
Vázquez had put the U.S. ahead with a header from DeJuan Jones' looping cross. In his home stadium where he plays for Cincinnati, Vázquez scored his fourth international goal and third goal of the tournament. He had entered in the 73rd minute.
Vitória tied the score with his fifth international goal. Robinson was called for the penalty by Mexican referee Marco Ortíz after a video review of a ball bouncing off the defender's arm while Robinson was challenging Rowe. Ortíz declined to award a penalty after a video review of a ball off Robinson's arm in first-half stoppage time,
Shaffelburg gave Canada the lead when he picked up a loose ball near midfield and dribbled past Ferreira. From just inside the penalty area, Shaffelburg sent a shot that deflected off a calf of defender Matt Miazga for his first international goal.
Turner lofted the ball from midfield into the penalty area. Miazga centered a header to Jordan Morris, who headed the ball in front. Dayne St. Clair made a leg save on Busio, but the shot deflected off defender Kennedy and in for an own goal.
In the opening game, Jamaica beat Guatemala 1-0 on a 51st-minute goal by Amari’i Bell. The defender scored from a Demarai Gray pass with a right-foot shot from 8 yards for his first international goal. Jamaica will play Mexico at Las Vegas on Wednesday.