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USWNT Advances To Gold Cup Final

The U.S. Women’s National Team battled through extremely difficult conditions caused by a heavily water-logged pitch to defeat Canada 3-1 in a penalty kick shootout following a 2-2 draw through 120 minutes. With the victory, the USA advances to the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup Final against Brazil on Sunday. Brazil defeated Mexico 3-0 in the first semifinal on Wednesday night. 

Jaedyn Shaw of the USWNT
Jaedyn Shaw celebrates her goal with team-mates. Photo by Orlando Ramirez - USA TODAY Sports

USA 2 Canada 2 - US win on pens.

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Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made three big saves in the shootout and converted her own penalty kick attempt to send the USA to the championship match. Forward Jaedyn Shaw tallied her team-leading fourth goal of the tournament to open the scoring in the 20th minute, with the 19-year-old becoming the first USWNT player ever to score in each of her first four starts. Substitute Sophia Smith scored her 16th career goal in the 99th minute off a feed from Rose Lavelle.

First Half

U.S. interim head coach Twila Kilgore went with the exact same lineup that sparked Sunday’s 3-0 quarterfinal win against Colombia. Given the wet conditions, which made dribbling or even kicking the soccer ball an adventure, the USA and Canada found it difficult to string multiple passes together as the ball would often get held up by patches of standing water present all over the field.

Despite the difficulty, those conditions contributed mightily to the USA’s opening goal when Canada defender Vanessa Gilles’ back pass for goalkeeper Kaelin Sheridan got held up in the puddles, allowing Shaw to sneak in and tuck home the USA’s opening score in the 20th minute.

Few more opportunities were had through much of the first half, but the USA did come close again in the 39th minute when Sam Coffey’s corner kick from the right found Lindsey Horan whose header at the back post was well held by Sheridan.

Stadium field operations worked vigorously throughout halftime to rid the pitch of as much water as possible, but conditions remained difficult in the second half.

Canada defender Vanessa Gilles battles with Sofia Smith during extra-time - Photo by Ray Acevedo - USA TODAY Sports
Canada defender Vanessa Gilles battles with Sofia Smith during extra-time - Photo by Ray Acevedo - USA TODAY Sports

Second Half

In the second half, the USWNT was the beneficiary of attacking the dryer end of the field – if there was such a thing — and created early on as halftime substitute Lynn Williams collected the ball on the right and swung a cross for Horan, but the captain’s header sprayed wide of the right post in the 51st minute.

Few chances came through much of the second half, but Canada hung tough and equalized off a nice passing sequence in the 82nd minute as Ashley Lawrence’s cross from the right found Jordyn Huitema who placed her header past Naeher to make it 1-1.

The USA caused danger once before extra time, when Lavelle’s 90th minute corner kick was nodded across goal by Canada’s Kadeisha Buchanan and popped up in the air by Coffey, but Gilles headed the ball away from the goal line before it was cleared from the penalty area.

Extra Time

The match went into 30 minutes of overtime, the first time that had happened against Canada since the USA’s memorable 4-3 win in the 2012 Olympic Semifinal, and the USWNT restored its lead in the 99th minute as three substitutes linked up. Emily Sonnett’s looping ball was flicked on by the head of Lavelle at the top of the area allowing Sophia Smith to run into the penalty area and finish past Sheridan. The goal was the 16th of Smith’s international career and also the first USWNT goal in extra time since Alex Morgan’s 123rd minute winner in that 2012 Olympic Semifinal.

There was little threat at either end for most of the rest of extra time as the teams slogged it out on the drenched pitch, but Canada provided one more piece of drama in the first minute of stoppage time. Jade Rose lumped the ball forward looking for Gilles, who got her head to it as Alyssa Naeher came out and collided with the Canada defender before the ball pinged wide right of the goal. After VAR review, referee Katia Garcia awarded a penalty kick and showed Naeher a yellow card, before Leon slotted home the dramatic spot kick to force the match to be decided in penalties.

After Smith gave the USA a 1-0 lead in the shootout, Naeher took over, saving back-to-back attempts from Leon and Huitema before converting her own take in the third round. After Horan converted the third of four USA attempts, Naeher dove to her right to stop Canada captain Jessie Fleming’s spot kick to dramatically send the USA to the final.

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Line Ups


1-Alyssa Naeher; 23-Emily Fox, 4-Naomi Girma, 12-Tierna Davidson, 3-Jenna Nighswonger (20-Casey Krueger, 46); 17-Sam Coffey (14-Emily Sonnett, 85), 15-Korbin Albert, 10-Lindsey Horan (Capt.); 22-Trinity Rodman (11-Sophia Smith, 65), 7-Alex Morgan (16-Rose Lavelle, 72), 8-Jaedyn Shaw (6-Lynn Williams, 46)

Substitutes not used: 18-Casey Murphy, 21-Jane Campbell, 2-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Becky Sauerbrunn, 9-Midge Purce, 13-Olivia Moultrie, 19-Crystal Dunn

Head Coach: Twila Kilgore


1-Kailen Sheridan; 12-Jade Rose, 14-Vanessa Gilles (4-Shelina Zadorsky, 120), 3-Kadeisha Buchanan (23-Olivia Smith, 90); 10-Ashley Lawrence, 13-Simi Awujo (9-Jordyn Huitema, 56), 17-Jessie Fleming (Capt.), 16-Gabby Carle (21-Clarissa Larisey, 105); 6-Deanne Rose (11-Evelyne Viens, 68), 19-Adriana Leon, 20-Cloe Lacasse (5-Quinn, 68)

Substitutes not used: 18-Sabrina D’angelo, 22-Lysianne Proulx, 2-Bianca St Georges, 7-Julia Grosso, 8-Marie-Yasmine Alidou

Head Coach: Beverly Priestman

Next Game

The 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup Final against Brazil in San Diego at Snapdragon Stadium on Sunday, March 10 (8:15 p.m. ET / 5:15 p.m. PT; Paramount+, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes). 

Alyssa Naeher picks up a yellow card
Alyssa Naeher picks up a yellow card during extra-time. Photo by Ray Acevedo - USA TODAY Sports
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