The USMNT fell to Panama 5-4 on penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 draw in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals. After playing 120 minutes only three days ago, the U.S. team went the distance again and faced back-to-back penalty shootouts for the first time in team history. The result ends the USMNT’s run at this year’s confederation championship as forward Jesús Ferreria netted his tournament-leading seventh goal in front of a crowd of 31,690 at Snapdragon Stadium.
It was the USA’s 12th Gold Cup meeting with Panama- its most-frequent opponent at the competition- and only the second time the Central American side has bested the USMNT in the tournament. Panama will face the winner of Wednesday’s other semifinal — either Jamaica or Mexico — in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup Final at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 16.
USA 1 Panama 1 (Panama win on pens)
It didn’t take long for the USMNT to get things going up front in the game’s early stages. Inside the first minute of play, Forward Brandon Vazquez laid a dangerous pass in after a Panamanian defensive giveaway. Teenage sensation Cade Cowell, starting his second game of the tournament, slammed the ball off the base of the post with a right-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area.
After that, Panama had the majority of possession and dictated the first-half attacking. Forward Ismael Diaz, who bagged a hat trick in Los Canaleros’ quarterfinal against Qatar, fired a warning shot at the U.S. defense and forced goalkeeper Matt Turner into a tidy save with a quick snapshot from a tight angle in the 12th minute.
Midfielder Yoel Bárcenas then had the ball in the back of Turner’s net with a close-range volley in the 29th minute on the end of a pinpoint ball from midfielder Adalberto Carrasquilla. The assistant referee’s flag was up, though, signaling the play dead for offside. Another scramble, off a miscleared ball from defender DeJuan Jones, forced Turner off his line to deny Diaz a free header near the penalty spot in the 43rd.
The second half started much like the first, with a good chance for the U.S. A dazzling bit of approach work on the right side of the penalty area saw Cowell unlock the Panama backline and clip the ball across the goal mouth in the 52nd minute. With the centering pass at an awkward height, Vazquez – in his first start of the 2023 Gold Cup – struck the ball over the bar.
A minute later at the other end of the field, a sharp cross from the right was headed down and goalward by Panama’s Diaz. Turner made his second save of the game, diving to tip the bouncing ball up and out for a corner kick.
The game began to open up after the hour mark and the USMNT carved out its best chance to that point in the 65th minute. It came as s a sweeping move that started back with Turner and saw midfielder Gianluca Busio roar forward with the ball through the middle of the park. Second-half substitute DeAndre Yedlin’s low cross from the right picked out Golden Boot leader Ferreira, but the striker guided his shot just wide of the far post. Both teams had chances to ice the game in the dying seconds of regulation, but neither were able to finish the job as the U.S. headed for yet another bout of extra time.
Fatigue began to show for the USMNT, on a day’s less rest than its opponent, in the first period of extra time. Panama made the U.S. pay in the 99th when defender Ivan Anderson scored his first international goal after holding his run and sneaking in behind the U.S. defense. Turner sprang off his line to snuff out the danger, but the substitute was a step quicker and put the bal in the back of the net.
Panama’s lead didn’t last long. Second-half substitute Jordan Morris rose to nod a long ball down into the penalty area in the 105th. Ferreira reacted with lightning reflexes to volley home off his shin in the last seconds of the period. The goal marked Ferreira’s tournament-leading seventh of the Gold Cup, tying him with Clint Dempsey in 2015 for most goals by a U.S. player at a single edition of the confederation championship.
The 1-1 deadlock at the end of extra time forced the USA into a shootout for the second time in as many matches for the first time in team history. After tallying the equalizer moments before, Jesús Ferreira’s first effort was saved by Panama goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera. Turner managed to stop Cristian Martínez’s try, but a saved kick from substitute Cristian Roldan opened the door for a Panama win – which Carrasquilla sealed with a well-placed strike in the shootout’s sixth round.
USA: 1-Matt Turner (capt.); 5-Bryan Reynolds (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 63), 12-Miles Robinson, 3-Aaron Long (4-Matt Miazga, 73), 15-DeJuan Jones (21-John Tolkin, 104); 6-Gianluca Busio (22-Julian Gressel, 104), 8-James Sands, 14-Djordje Mihailovic; 9-Jesús Ferreira, 19-Brandon Vazquez (13-Jordan Morris, 74), 11-Cade Cowell (10-Cristian Roldan, 63)
Substitutes not used: 18-Sean Johnson, 23-Gabriel Slonina, 17-Alejandro Zendejas, 20-Jalen Neal, 24-Jackson Yueill
Head coach: B.J. Callaghan
PAN: 22-Orlando Mosquera; 4-Fidel Escobar, 3-Harold Cummings, 16-Andres Andrade; 10-Edgar Barcenas, 8-Adalberto Carrasquilla, 20-Anibal Godoy (capt.) (7-Jovani Welch, 102), 15-Eric Davis (25-Ivan Anderson, 90+1); 17-Jose Fajardo (6-Cristian Martinez, 79), 19-Alberto Quintero (18-Cecilio Waterman, 79), 11-Ismael Diaz
Substitutes not used: 1-Luis Mejia, 12-Cesar Samudio, 5-Roderick Miller, 9-Azarias Londoño, 13-Freddy Gondola, 14-Eduardo Anderson, 21-Cesar Yanis, 24-Omar Valencia
Head coach: Thomas Christiansen