Turner’s PKs heroics send U.S. to Gold Cup semis

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CINCINNATI, Ohio – Goalkeeper Matt Turner made two key penalty shootout saves as the United States outlasted Canada, 2-2 (3-2) to advance to the Gold Cup semifinals

“The way he makes big plays [stands out],” U.S. interim coach B.J. Callaghan said. “He started in the Jamaica game he’s the captain right now leading us. Those are the moments you expect big players to step up.”

After the U.S. conceded just one goal in three group-stage matches, Canada scored twice Sunday night after the game’s initial 90 minutes were played. Steven Vitoria beat Turner down the middle on a penalty in stoppage time before Jacob Shaffelburg put Canada up 2-1 in the 109th minute.

Turner got his revenge against Vitoria right away in penalties. Vitoria was the first player to shoot and, again, went middle on Turner.

“A lot of the penalties that I had seen on my sheets or in my preparation, most of those guys were off the pitch by the time the pens were there,” Turner said. “I just trusted my instincts, really, and typically when I do that, I find myself having a lot more success.”

This time the Arsenal goalkeeper was ready, parrying away the shot with his right hand to give the U.S. a boost. After Brandon Vázquez missed for the U.S., Turner dove to his left to save a Liam Fraser shot and the U.S. didn’t look back.

Cade Cowell, Gianluca Busio and Jesús Ferreira all scored for the U.S., which took a 3-2 lead to the fifth round when Canada’s Charles-Andreas Brym hit the crossbar, securing the U.S. win.

“These are the high stakes, high impact games that we’re looking to play because they test the character of the group, and tonight we showed up,” Callaghan said.

Turner was the lone holdover for the starting XI that featured against Canada in the Nations League last month.

The USMNT will now take on Panama in the semifinals on Wednesday night.

The Americans have reached 12 straight Gold Cup semifinals. Going to a shootout for the first time since losing to Panama in the 2015 Gold Cup third-place game, the Americans improved to 5-4 in games decided by penalty kicks, including 5-2 in competitive matches.

The U.S.-Panama winner on Wednesday at San Diego advances to the championship match on July 16 against Mexico or Jamaica at Inglewood, California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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