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USA vs. Canada, 2023 Gold Cup Quarterfinals: Recap

USA vs. Canada, 2023 Gold Cup Quarterfinals: Recap
USA vs. Canada, 2023 Gold Cup Quarterfinals: Recap

Now, this has a vague sense of deja vu.

The Men's National Team of the United States faced Canada twice in one month. Interim coach B.J. Callahan made one change to the starting lineup from the 6-0 thrashing of Trinidad and Tobago, inserting Julian Gressel in place of Cristian Roldan. The game began with a rather strange event. Kamal Miller successfully cleared the ball into the linesman's face in the first few seconds, just adjacent to the endline. For roughly 10 minutes, the game was stopped as the referee crew attended to the bleeding, wounded linesman.

The game itself proved to be a little lackluster once play really began, at least at initially. In essence, Canada lost possession when it was unable to enter the US's final third. On the other side, while being under little pressure, the USMNT frequently displayed sloppiness and slowness, losing passes or playing the ball into Canadian defenders.

After the first thirty minutes, things began to change.

Through DeJuan Jones, the US did get into the box in the 33rd minute, but the ensuing corner produced nothing. The Canadian team ultimately made it down the right side of the USMNT and earned a free kick, but the American defense stood firm. With a clever little move, the US was able to play out of pressure before forcing a foul at the midway point. The US was able to regain momentum after recycling the ball and assault the Canadian goal in the 38th minute. They managed to keep possession even though they were unable to resolve any issues that directly affected St. Clair. The youthful American team was clearly beginning to find its groove. In the 41st second, Canada attempted to sabotage it with a risky foul, for which Lucas Cavallini received a yellow card for grabbing Sands behind his ankle.

Bryan Reynolds' misplay of a cross into the US defense in the 47th minute was Canada's most dangerous opportunity of the half. By chance, the US prevented an own goal. When the next corner was cleared, Canada made an appeal for a handball by Miles Robinson. As it turned out, Robinson's hand appeared to strike the ball as he flailed it in its direction. However, after a review, the referee determined that Busio had really been fouled just minutes earlier, therefore a free kick was awarded in place of a penalty.

The US was able to enter the box off of a free kick in the 56th minute, but they could only muster a feeble attempt from Ferreira that bounced and was easily saved by St. Clair. The Americans became unhappy after the referee disregarded two separate instances at the very end of the half where Canadian players attempted to tackle Alejandro Zendejas, and the half (finally) ended in a bit of a scuffle.

The US dominated possession of the ball to start the second half. On the left side of the Canadian penalty area, near to the byline, Jones was successful in winning a dangerous free kick. Gressel made it into a shot that was on goal, but St. Clair deflected it with a punch.

After Alejandro Zendejas was hacked down in midfield in the 56th minute, Canada continued to use this tactic on American players, earning another yellow card. The kick was efficiently executed and passed toward Busio, who was waiting on the right side. When Busio's cross fizzed in, there were no runners in the box.

At the top of the Canadian penalty box, in the 57th minute, Canada fouled Busio, resulting in a yellow card for Kamal Miller. Busio attempted to score from the resulting free kick, but the Canadian wall rose to block his attempt high above the crossbar.

The US was able to play down the left side in the 61st minute as a result of some deft combination play, especially by Ferreira. Zendejas' attempt was blocked and cleared after he was able to thread the ball to him. The rapid Canadian onslaught allowed the US to regroup, but Neal conceded a loose ball in the final third, renewing the Canadian attack. That swiftly collapsed, but not before giving the US cause for concern.

Gressel attempted to find an American head to direct a cross into the box in the 68th minute but was unsuccessful. The US was able to make a comeback inside the box and locate Busio, who fired a shot that St. Clair well blocked. On the second try, the US easily rebounded. Prior to the goal, Cade Cowell, who had replaced Zendejas, drove alone from midfield into the Canadian final third, but his shot was weak and far wide.

To the pleasure of the home crowd, FC Cincinnati players Brandon Vazquez and Matt Miazga (for Mihailovic and Neal, respectively) entered the game in the 73rd minute.

At the top of the box in the 74th minute, Cade Cowell managed to latch onto a long ball, but St. Clair simply swept it into his arms. A minute later, Cowell found Vazquez at the top of the box, but Vazquez was unable to find the back of the net with his attempt. In the 77th minute, Vazquez took another shot, but Gressel was clearly offside during the buildup.

After the US pushed St. Clair into an errant ball out of bounds in the 85th minute, Cade Cowell had a chance, but it was too tight an angle to seriously threaten the goal.

The US was able to put numbers into the box and found Busio wide open on the left in the 86th minute. The Canadian defense did, however, clear the cross before the referee called the defense for a foul. The USMNT at last made a breakthrough. DeJuan Jones sent a beautiful curving pass to Brandon Vazquez from deep in midfield. Vazquez slammed it into the goal while playing in the stadium that his club team calls home.

Things appeared to be resolved, but a second VAR review uncovered a second handball by Miles Robinson within the penalty area. The referee then pointed to the penalty area this time. Steven Vitoria smashed the ball into the goal without making a mistake. Back to level, and there you have it. In the 97th minute, Vazquez mustered another headed attempt, but it wasn't enough to keep the game from going into extra time.

Canada profited in the 94th minute as USMNT pressure weakened a bit. Jane Russell-Rowe and Jacob Shaffelburg, both Canadian replacements, worked together to generate an opportunity, but Russell-Rowe's effort sailed over the crossbar. Bryan Reynolds was able to be overtaken by Shaffelburg on the right side of the US by using his pace and fresh legs.

The US was able to reenter the assault in the 96th, but Canada was able to clear, and Cade Cowell was given an odd yellow card on the play.

The US was able to score headed attempts from Matt Miazga and Busio as the first half of extra time was coming to an end, but they were unsuccessful. Similar shot blocking happened to Cade Cowell, resulting in a corner. Matt Miazga managed a headed shot off of that corner, forcing St. Clair to make a quick reaction stop.

There was no respite in the US's offensive performance during the second period of extra time. After a second ball was sent towards Vazquez and the Canadian backline, Busio promptly had a shot blocked. However, Canada made the breakthrough when Shaffelburg outran the US squad and slipped the ball past Turner and between Miazga's knees.

The US could press ahead. Jesus Ferreira attempted a headed shot (excuse me?! ), and Cristian Roldan entered the game to provide a bit extra flair. Then another American innovation followed. In the box, Matt Turner sent a hopeful ball that ultimately found Busio. Busio fired it right at the goalkeeper, who deflected it into his own defender and back toward the goal. Scoring by Scott Kennedy, 2-2.

Jesus Ferreira whipped in a couple risky corners as the USMNT pushed forward but failed to produce a shot. The game went to a penalty shootout despite Matt Miazga receiving a yellow card for shoving the referee at the very end.

The The coin toss caused a fight between Matt Turner and Steven Vitoria. Vitoria stood uncomfortably with the ball in his hand as the teams argued about where they may stand during the shootout. Possibly, it was the difference, or it could have been something else. In any case, Matt Turner deflected the opening shot.


Daniel Jack

For Daniel, journalism is a way of life. He lives and breathes art and anything even remotely related to it. Politics, Cinema, books, music, fashion are a part of his lifestyle.