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Gyasi Zardes winner propels USMNT to Gold Cup final


Saved in the early going by jaw-dropping heroics from Matt Turner, and boosted by a quintet of effective second-half substitutes, the U.S. men’s national team shook off a poor start and put together the kind of impressive finish that now has the young squad one win away from a trophy.

Gyasi Zardes’ came off the bench and scored in the 86th minute to lift the USMNT to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Qatar.

The win propels the Americans into Sunday’s Gold Cup final, where they will face Mexico, which defeated Canada, 2-1, to set up a rematch of the 2019 Gold Cup final won by Mexico.

The Americans took control of the match in the final 30 minutes, propelled by the energy brought in by a flurry of substitutions. Zardes, Eryk Williamson, Nicholas Gioacchini, Cristian Roldan and Reggie Cannon came on in the second half and helped the USMNT take control as Qatar began to tire.

That control led to the game’s only goal, in the 86th minute, when Williamson found Gioacchini with a pass on the left flank. Gioacchini slipped a perfect pass toward the front of goal, where Zardes finished the chance for the winning finish.

The Americans very nearly fell behind in the second half when James Sands was called for a penalty foul after a VAR review of a challenge in the penalty area. Qatar’s Hassan Al-Haydos stepped up to take the penalty, and after hesitating in his run-up to get a read on Turner, Al-Haydos proceeded to send his kick over the crossbar in the 61st minute.

Qatar came into the match as the highest-scoring team in the Gold Cup, and showed why in the first half, as the reigning Asian champions pressured the USMNT defense early on, creating a plethora of chances.

It took the heroics of Matt Turner to keep the Qataris from taking the lead, as the New England Revolution goalkeeper made some trio of big saves, including one to prevent an own-goal, and another on a close-range blast.

The USMNT labored through the first half, managing to muster little in the attack as Daryl Dike struggled in the starting striker role for the third straight match.

The USMNT defense bent, but didn’t break though, as Miles Robinson and Sam Vines turned in strong shifts and James Sands shook off some early mistakes to close out the team’s fourth shutout in five matches.

Turner finished with three saves for his fourth shutout of the Gold Cup.


  1. not bad. GB pulled the right strings. His players clearly like him. They play for each other. No locker room issues anymore, that putrid stench from Klinsmann is gone. Playing for the 2nd half against a team that tires like Qatar makes sense and worked. Dike and Arriola both with great looks to score, as good as any Qatar got thru run of play. Did you see GB go off on the 4th official after Gyasi’s goal? Love it

  2. What we’ve learned so far from the Gold Cup?
    -Lewis’s speed cannot help us his other lacking skills are too great
    -Arriola’s series of injuries have greatly limited his effectiveness, and he’s probably out for qualifying.
    -Yueill isn’t necessarily out forever but his “yips” continue and he needs an Acosta like break before contributing again
    -Dike needs rest, I don’t think he’s gone from consideration but he’s got some learning to do
    – Busio has gotten a lot of valuable time in and if he makes an exponential improvement like Aaronson after moving to Europe he can slot in easily into qualifying
    -Robinson is ready to contribute now
    -Turner is for sure top 3, and we’d feel comfortable if he started any qualifiers.
    -Vines is an option at LB backup, especially against 2nd tier Concacaf teams. Hopefully his Belgian moves leads to more growth.
    -Canada is #3 in the region
    -Shaq Moore is not better than Dest or a fully fit Cannon. He’s another good piece in the pool, hard to compare apples to oranges but I think Araujo is better because his versatility offensively.

    • Great points!! You got 80% of what I was thinking about! No bs. In terms of RB depth, I rate Shaq above Yedlin, then Araujo & Reynolds for the C team, my opinion of course.

      • Just against the Timbers but Araujo was really really good Friday night. I mean really good.

  3. It’s always nice to catch USMNT and USWNT matches so close together, and getting big wins in both games is huge. The women have some much confidence, wow! Could they be kind enough to gift some of that to the men??? Please! The women are always on the attack, even when they are defending. It’s amazing to watch. Default for the women is to push the ball into the attack. They have had more goals disallowed in these olympics than half the fields goal total combined. I’m not sure about that last bit, but it’s a lot. At least two goals called back today. Our men’s team default is to pass it backwards, and when we lose possession, we are spread out, and vulnerable. The women have a total concept of team defending, like it is ingrained. Because it is. For some strange reason, defense has become like a bad word. God forbid the men bunker down and counter. It’s hard to bunker if you can’t play solid team defense, and the men lack this. The women play defense like Italy, and attack and finish like Brazil.

    The men should strive for what the women have. The USWNT can beat any team in the world, even if they aren’t playing their best. If the women are playing their best, they are unbeatable. I guess honestly, there are not many teams in any sport that can claim this. But our women can. Onwards to the gold ladies! Men, Sunday is a statement game, and our men are going to make a statement one way or the other. Come on gents, you can lift the cup

  4. Our depth and Turner in goal made the difference in this one. We struggled in the first half, partly because two of our starters were not match fit. As bad as Dike was, Arriola was worse. Not sure why Berharlter waited so long to pull them, but he did make the right subs eventually. Hopefully we see Zardes and Gioachini from the start against Mexico. Quick shout to Canada, who gave Mexico all they could handle, and are easily the third best team in concacaf right now.

  5. Quatar was softer in the center as the game progressed, probably because they needed a goal, but maybe the whole game, and we just didn’t exploit that well until the end. Gioacchini found that weakness, and he is a 9, so it worked very well. Would the “superior” players who came in as subs have defeated Quatar in the first half? Maybe, maybe not. We needed that killer pass or combination through the middle. Zardes for Dike a no brainer, though. Dike looked afraid of injury, tired, reactive. Once Hoppe started moving, maybe halfway through first half and into second half, Quatar was unbalanced. Good for him. Roldan looking more dangerous than Arriola, even though Arriola worked very hard. The team’s strength is depth in that we can get 90 minutes of 100% from all players, except Dike right now.

  6. It’s obvious that the players coming off the bench are better right now, and are winning this team games (Zardes, Cannon, Roldan, Giochinni). (Starters Lletget and Hoppe have also been good.). Perhaps the plan is to get young guys (i.e. Busio) experience, which is ok I guess. However, for a final against Mexico, I think you have to change the starting to the players that give you the best chance to win now.

  7. Zardes simply has to start the final in front of Dike. Dike has been badly overrated from the jump — he is still young and might very well improve, but good god does he have concrete feet and even worse reaction times. I’d rate him last behind Hoppe, Zardes, Giochhini (and a few other guys who aren’t even in the Gold Cup side)

      • Who the f*** cares if I was offended? I wouldn’t give Mexican fans my s*** to eat if they were starving. CONCACAF has already penalized the Mexico merditos and chances are they will do it again. Good chance Mexico will not be allowed to compete in the next WC.

      • And yes, they stopped the game in the second half because of the PUTO bulls***. Go ahead, defend it.

    • I don’t want to or have to defend it, I didn’t know you got triggered so easy by word. Look, what ever you do at home or whom ever you chose to love That’s your choice but one thing is clear that in order for Concacaf to get any respect in the Futbol world there has to be improvements en central America and island teams not just U.S and Mexico and not focus on word . That’s all.

  8. Great fighting spirit from our C team to beat the Asian champs A squad. Qatar should be concerned – they run out of gas in every game; probably a quick world cup for them….
    Arriola is awful – why does he start?
    Sands is a catastrophe again after so many giveaways against Jamaica. He’s like a worse version of Tim Ream. But I guess in this squad we can’t do much better. He will cost us a goal in the final though I have a feeling.
    Vines again was really good. He should get a look in WCQ and I see Europe in his future soon.
    In the final please don’t start Dike or Arriola.
    The subs were good – great coaching from Berhalter this time.

    • All the Qatari players play in their domestic league which is in their off season. Also they probably aren’t used to the humidity of Texas. At home with their fans pushing them on I think you’ll see a second wind for their players in the final 30 minutes.

      • Only if they get a favorable draw.
        There is no way Qatar can defeat a Europe or South America half decent team. But good luck to them I guess. I’ve been to Qatar – summers there are super humid and hot so they should be used to it. Also, you overestimate their “fan” support. There is no real soccer culture there, but you can expect paid fans posing and cheering for them.

    • Great coaching? Dike is clearly not 100% but he started anyway. The team was clearly not ready the first half and was lucky not to go down by 2. Especially in the first half on Qatari counter attacks there were large h9oles in the US defense, they should have scored one or two plus the missed penalty kick. I think we won because Qatar ran out of gas in the second half and our depth wore them down. IMHO Berhalter was out coached.

      • My comment for great coaching was on the subs. He brought in the right people at the right time and it made the difference. Not a Berhalter fan in general, but he played it right on that one. Starting lineup is a different story – why does Arriola do to deserve the nod? It baffles me.

      • If Berhalter’s plan was to wait until Qatar was tired to b ring on his best players, the plan worked well. However, I suspect it was more of a case that he did a poor job of player selection for the start and realized after 70 minutes he needed to replace those players who weren’t doing anything positive. My comment was based on my observation that, in addition to poor selection, Qatar seemed much better organized than the US. Also, usually the US consistently improves throughout a tournament. For much of this game they looked like they had regressed.

    • Gary: I do think the idea with Dike and Zardes was to wear them down with Dike and then let Zardes exploit them in the last 30 mins. Not that we weren’t trying to get goal, Hoppe and Dike almost combined for the one the keeper saved. As for Qatar looking more organized as they said several times on the broadcast Qatar’s players averaged something crazy like 70 caps, plus I think it was 12 players come from the Qatari Stars League champs, so they were always going to be more organized they’ve played 100s of games together. The midfield was way too timid in the first half whether that was by design or just individual responses to Sands early turnover and fear of being punished for the next mistake I don’t know. Lleget and Acosta were more progressive in the second half so at least Berhalter was able to fix that.

      • Gary: I do think Gregg overthinks things sometimes both in his roster selection and tactics. I think the #1 goal of the tournament was to evaluate players not necessarily to win or even make the final. I missed most of the middle third of the match so I may have missed some things performing some Dad duties. I thought the adjustment later first half to drop Hoppe into the middle helped with Qatar’s numerical advantage in MF. I called for Williamson at half so I was glad to see it but I think Gregg held it as long as he could because he feared turnovers in good spaces. Once Qatar pulled their best players because they were worn out he had that energetic creative weapon to unleash.

    • Yes Turner has been good this tournament, and it’s a good thing to have competition at the GK position….but I don’t think he’s at a point where he’s going to really challenge for the # 1 slot. He looks to have solidified himself as the # 3….and has a shot at moving up the pecking order if either Steffen or Horvath stumble.
      If Horvath’s club situation sees him getting consistent minutes combined with his performance off the bench in the NL against Mexico’s A-Team I have to think he’s got the inside track for overtaking Steffen. Turner will still need to prove himself against a higher level of opposition than CONCACAF B-Teams before he’ll be able to overtake both Steffen & Horvath.

  9. lol freaking Stu Holden, he was harping how great Zardes was and giving zero credit for the guy who made it happen! Gioacchini drew out 3 defenders out to him before he made that great pass to Zardes. Williamson should also get credit for getting that pass to Gioacchini. MOTM Turner all the way. This team can’t for the life of them create anything on the offensive side. Oh props to Vines he really had a good game at LB. Miles again cleaning up in the back. Sands had his first struggle but I still like him.

    • Zardes was standing offsides for five-ten seconds in the build-up to that goal too. He was still offsides when he tried to touch the through ball to Gioacchini. The USMNT is a little lucky the ref didn’t say Zardes interfered with the opponent on that play.


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