Alyssa Naeher has 3 saves in a penalty shootout over Canada and the US heads to Gold Cup final

Thu, Mar 7, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Alyssa Naeher has 3 saves in a penalty shootout over Canada and the US heads to Gold Cup final

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Alyssa Naeher had three saves in the penalty shootout after a rain-soaked 2-2 draw with Canada on Wednesday night, earning the United States a spot in the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup final.

The United States advanced 3-1 on penalties and will play Brazil in the title game on Sunday evening. Brazil defeated Mexico 3-0 in the earlier semifinal match.

The game was a sloppy mess with standing water on the field at San Diego's Snapdragon Stadium from heavy rain in San Diego. The players had difficulty with control. Canada's Vanessa Gilles twisted the front of her soaked jersey to squeeze out some of the rainwater.

Jaedyn Shaw scored in the 20th minute. A Canada defender tried to send the ball back to goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, but it stopped on the waterlogged field and Shaw ran up on it and scored.

Shaw is the first U.S. player to score in each of her first four starts.

Jordyn Huitema tied it up in the 82nd minute with a header that was beyond U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher's reach.

Smith broke the stalemate in the 99th, falling to her knees in celebration before she was mobbed by her teammates.

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But Naeher collided with Gilles in the 120th minute and Canada was awarded a penalty, which Adriana Leon calmly converted to tie the match at 2.

Naeher had two saves to open the shootout, and converted on a penalty of her own. She stopped Jesse Fleming to send the United States to the title match.

With Brazil's victory, the United States was denied a revenge match against Mexico, which pulled off the biggest upset of the group stage in downing the United States 2-0. It was just the second time the Americans had lost to their southern neighbors in 43 meetings.

The United States rebounded from that loss with a 3-0 victory over Colombia in the quarterfinals. Canada, which scored 13 goals in its group without conceding a goal, got by Costa Rica 1-0 in extra time in its quarterfinal match.

It was the 14th time that the United States has faced Canada in the knockout round of a competitive tournament. The U.S. has won 11 of the previous 13 meetings. Canada's lone win came in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics.

It was Canada's first major tournament without captain Christine Sinclair, who retired from the national team last year as soccer's all-time leading goal scorer among men or women with 190 career goals.

Mexico went on to eliminate Paraguay 3-2 in the quarterfinals. Brazil routed Argentina 5-1.

Brazil got goals from Adriana Leal, Antonia and Yasmin, while Mexico was a player down after Nicolette Hernandez was sent off in the 29th minute.

The tournament was the first women's Gold Cup, designed to give teams in the region meaningful competition. Four of the teams that participated - the United States, Canada, Brazil and Colombia - will play in this summer's Olympics.

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