Panama stuns USMNT in penalties to reach 2023 Gold Cup Final

It marked the second straight game for the U.S. that needed extra time and penalties to be decided

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The U.S. men's national team will not repeat as Gold Cup champions.

Panama stunned the USMNT in a penalty shootout during the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup Final on Wednesday at Snapdragon Stadium, home of the NWSL's San Diego Wave.

Los Canaleros (The Canal Men) will now advance to the final, while the U.S. is done in the tournament. There are no third-place games in the tournament.

Young forward Cade Cowell of the San Jose Earthquakes almost opened the scoring for the U.S. before the minute mark. With 23 seconds on the clock, Cowell saw his shot just inside the box graze off the bottom right post.

From there, however, the U.S. had actually been the inferior side for the majority of regulation. Panama, in its hybrid 3-4-3 shape, utilized its wingbacks and inside forwards to create overloads against the USMNT's midfield and defensive lines.

The Stars and Stripes noticeably looked leggy having played 120 minutes on Sunday against Canada compared to Panama's quarterfinal transpiring on Saturday.

But Los Canaleros didn't create too many threatening chances against goalkeeper Matt Turner during their dominant periods with the ball. Instead, the U.S. flipped the switch and used fresh legs post-70th minute to take control as Panama gradually tired out and sat deeper.

That momentum for the U.S. couldn't be converted into a goal, however, so the game went into extra time. It marked the second straight game the U.S. needed added periods for a winner to be decided after doing so against Canada in Sunday's quarterfinal.

But it wasn't the USMNT who opened the scoring. Rather, it was Ivan Anderson for Panama in the 99th minute, who recorded his first international goal in the moment.

Anderson, an injury-replacement player, took advantage of DeAndre Yedlin trying to play him offside. Yedlin's tactic failed, and Anderson forced Turner to come far off his line, which resulted in the composed finish.

But just like the U.S. did against Canada, they netted the equalizer within minutes.

In the 105th minute, Jesus Ferreira scored a volley off a deflection in stunning fashion.

But in the penalty shootout, Ferreira missed the first kick that eventually set the precedent. Turner did save one for the U.S. to force sudden-death rounds, but Cristian Roldan missed the first that gave Panama the chance to put away the game.

Adalberto Carrasquilla did just that, going for the top left corner that Turner had no chance at saving.

Panama has never won the Gold Cup, but it did make the final in 2005 and 2013. Both games resulted in losses to the U.S.

The Gold Cup Final will take place on Sunday, July 16 at Sofi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Rams. Mexico and Jamaica will duke it out for the second spot and face Panama.

Since the Gold Cup's debut in 1991, only the U.S. and Mexico have won it all. Los Canaleros and Jamaica will have the chance to end that streak in 2023.

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