Panama defeated the United States on penalties this Wednesday (1-1, 4-5 in the shootout) and, after eliminating the current champion, will play the final of this tournament on Sunday in Los Angeles (USA).
This will be the third Gold Cup final for Panama, which on the two previous occasions (2005 and 2013) could not get the title.
The Panamanian team, with goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera as the hero in the shootout with two saved penalties, will face the winner of the other semifinal between Mexico and Jamaica in the final.
The USA was coming off another grueling quarterfinal match against Canada which also ended in penalties, but this time the coin fell tails for the combined stars and stripes.
Adalberto Carrasquilla, the best in Panama throughout this intense and very exciting encounter, sealed the final penalty.
The match ended goalless after the statutory 90 minutes, Iván Anderson overtook the Panamanian team in 1999 and the Colombian-American Jesús Ferreira tied for the US in the 105th minute, which led to the semifinal in the tense meters where the Canal team claimed victory.
Before the clock hit 30 seconds, the USA had a close chance.
Panama made a blunder at the start from behind and the ball ended up at the feet of Cade Cowellwhich, with a tight shot, left the left post of Mosquera’s goal trembling.
The match got off to a fast pace – surprising in the sweltering heat in San Diego – but it was the USA that brought the most danger as two powerful and burly forwards in Cowell and Brandon Vázquez entered the starting lineup to guard Ferreira. .
After several initial scares, the Panamanian team settled on the field, gained ground and began to look at the opposite area.
His first approach came at minute 12 with a poisoned shot, between the shot on goal and a sharp cross, from Ismael Díaz that Matt Turner saved with a good intervention.
The USA lost steam, with less and less speed in the circulation of the ball, and the team led by Thomas Christiansen took the initiative.
The board of the Hispano-Danese coach shone in minute 28 with a beautiful play prepared in a corner kick that ended in a goal by Yoel Bárcenas, but the referee annulled the goal for offside.
Against a USA that faded as the minutes went by, Panama added chances such as a tackle from the left by Éric Davis, whose ‘death pass’ found no finisher.
Díaz and Alberto Quintero staged a double chance on a broken play, but Panama’s dominance was unpaid and the US went into halftime with relief after keeping a clean sheet.
OCCASIONS IN THE RESUMPTION
The two sets recharged their batteries and came out biting at the restart.
Vázquez, after a stupendous individual action by Cowell, incomprehensibly missed a shot already in the small area at minute 52 and just after Panama responded with a header from Díaz, served by a magnificent cross from Bárcenas, which Turner repelled with another meritorious save.
Even clearer was the one Ferreira had for the US in ’65, who received a ball very close to the penalty spot and whose crossed and bitten shot passed centimeters from the Panamanian goal.
Probably affected by fatigue, Panama withdrew against a more intense American team that combined better and better with Ferreira on offense.
However, Panama was about to avoid the extension in the discount.
Carrasquilla found a splendid pass in minute 93 to Díaz, who scored a goal that seemed definitive but the referee not only annulled that goal for offside but also did not point out a possible handball from the US inside the area.
ANDERSON SCORES, FERREIRA RESPONSES
The goal that did go up on the scoreboard It was Anderson’s already in extra time.
Once again, Carrasquilla, the brain of the Central American team, leaked a perfect pass to Anderson, set up by a clueless DeAndre Yedlin offside and who, after cutting Turner’s desperate output, unleashed euphoria in the 99th minute the Panamanian team.
The joy lasted only six minutes, the time it took Ferreira, the top scorer in the Gold Cup, to tie the score for the US Jordan Morris headed a dangling ball into the Panama box and the Colombian-American sent the ball into the net with a spike without dropping the ball.
Almost without strength in the second half of extra time, the two teams resigned themselves to penalties in which Mosquera began the series by saving Ferreira’s shot.
Turner, excellent at taking kicks from the penalty mark against Canada, saved Cristian Martinez’s shot, but Mosquera again became huge under the posts and thwarted Cristian Roldan’s shot.
Hollypaw assumed responsibility and, deceiving Turnerextended Panama’s dream of getting its first Gold Cup.
– Data sheet:
1. USA: Turner; Reynolds (Yedlin, m.63), Robinson, Long (Miazga, m. 73), Jones (Tolkin, m. 104); Busio (Gressel, d. 104), Sands, Mihailovic; Ferreira, Vázquez (Morris, m. 73), Cowell (Roldán, m.63).
Manager: BJ Callaghan.
1. Panama: Mosquera; Bárcenas, Cummings, Escobar, Andrade, Davis (Anderson, m. 90+1); Quintero (Waterman, m. 79), Carrasquilla, Godoy (Welch, m. 102), Díaz; Fajardo (Martinez, m. 79).
Coach: Thomas Christiansen.
Goals: 0-1, m. 99: Ivan Anderson. 1-1, m. 105: Ferreira.
Penalties: Ferreira: miss (0-0). Escobar: goal (0-1). Mihailovic: goal (1-1). Diaz: goal (1-2). Morris: goal (2-2). Martinez: misses (2-2). Gressel: goal (3-2). Barcenas: goal (3-3). Miazga: goal (4-3). Waterman: goal (4-4). Roldán: failure (4-4). Carrasquilla: (4-5 final).
Referee: Walter López Castellanos (Guatemala). He booked Robinson in the US and Godoy in Panama.
Incidents: Gold Cup semifinal match played at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego before 31,690 spectators.