Gyasi Zardes lifts US over Qatar 1-0, into Gold Cup final
Austin, Texas — Gyasi Zardes scored in the 86th minute and the United States beat Qatar 1-0 on Thursday night to reach the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Zardes, one of the few first-line U.S. players on a mostly junior varsity roster at the tournament, replaced Daryl Dike in the 63rd minute and combined with two other second-half subs, Nicholas Gioacchini and Eryk Williamson.
Gioacchini picked up a Qatari clearance attempt and fed Williamson, who returned the ball. Gioacchini passed to Zardes, and he scored his 14th goal and second of the tournament.
The 20th-ranked U.S. matched its record with 13 consecutive home wins and advanced to Sunday night’s final in Las Vegas against defending champion Mexico or Canada. No. 11 Mexico and 70th-ranked Canada played at Houston later Thursday.
CONCACAF filled out the field for the Gold Cup, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean, with 2022 World Cup host Qatar as an invited guest.
Goalkeeper Matt Turner made three big first-half saves for the U.S.
Qatar had a chance to go ahead in the 61st minute but Hassan Al-Haydos sent a penalty kick over the crossbar following a foul by James Sands. Al-Haydos took a stutter step and tried to fool goalkeeper Matt Turner with a panenka, a soft shot down the middle.
Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Zack Steffem, Josh Sargent and other U.S. regulars missed the Gold Cup for vacation followed by preseason with their European clubs.
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter made a rare decision to start the same lineup in consecutive games.
The match was played at Q2 Stadium, which opened last month and will host the Americans' World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on Oct. 7.