SAN DIEGO, CA – Panama eliminated the USMNT in a 5-4 shootout win Wednesday to advance to the Gold Cup final, their first trip since a runner-up finish in 2013. The match went to a shootout after a 1-1 end to extra time.
Adalberto Carrasquilla of the Houston Dynamo put the nail in the coffin.
Panama will face Mexico in the final on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Mexico routed Jamaica in the semifinal, 3-0, on Wednesday night.
The loss ends a young USMNT squad’s campaign for back-to-back Gold Cup titles.
U.S., Panama exchange goals in extra time
Twenty seconds into the match, U.S. winger Cade Cowell fired a cross and hit the post. It was the closest the Americans got for nearly 120 minutes.
Panama was the first to find the net in extra time, when a bizarre defensive breakdown by the Americans allowed an easy goal by Iván Anderson. The USMNT clearly believed their opponent was offside, but neither the refs nor VAR saved them.
The U.S. response came six minutes later in the form of the tournament’s leading scorer Jesús Ferreira, who needed just one touch to even things up. The goal was Ferreira’s seventh of the tournament, tying him for the second most ever in a Gold Cup.
Panama loses goal — and a penalty kick — in controversial end of regulation
The period between Cowell’s cross and halftime was distinctly controlled by Panama, which didn’t translate into much beyond a goal that was quickly ruled offside.
The USMNT retooled enough to make the second half more balanced, but Panama still had the closer calls getting to the net, and the closest came in stoppage time. Panama wasn’t thrilled with how it went down.
Two and a half minutes into the extra five, a Panama corner saw the ball fly into a scrum, bounce away, then come back in for what briefly looked like an Ismael Díaz goal. That goal too was quickly wiped out — Díaz was clearly offside — but the bigger intrigue came when the Panamanians noted Djordje Mihailovic’s arm appeared to hit the ball on the initial fight for the ball.
Replay eventually ruled otherwise, taking a penalty kick from Panama.
SOURCE: Yahoo Sports