The missed second-half spotkick proved a turning poing as the U.S. booked a spot in the Gold Cup final
U.S. men’s national team goalkeeper Matt Turner revealed what happened in the moments leading up to Qatar’s game-changing missed penalty in Thursday’s Gold Cup semi-final.
After a foul was called on James Sands, the U.S. faced a second-half penalty from Hassan Al-Haydos, who had scored a panenka from the spot earlier in the tournament.
But, after embracing the dark arts a bit by delaying the penalty, the U.S. was lifted by a miss from the Qatar star, helping kickstart an eventual 1-0 win that booked a spot in the Gold Cup final.
What did Turner say?
“I don’t think that the words that were said will be good for a press conference,” Turner said with a laugh, “but it’s just normal back and forth. It was a big moment, obviously, and, in an international tournament, tensions were high and emotions were running high.
“For me, I just tried to let the guy know that I knew, that I’ve been watching his penalties. I think even beforehand I kind of mimicked his run-up as I was heading back to my goal to try to just mess with him a little bit. I waited as long as possible in the middle because I knew that he chipped down the middle earlier in this tournament, and then you just see what happens from there.
“Even though I sort of went the wrong way, I’d like to think that a combination of all things, my team delaying the shot, me holding my ground, all sort of led to that moment and it was a big moment for us.”
Turner dazzles yet again
The New England Revolution goalkeeper put in another Man of the Match-worthy performance on Thursday, helping lead the U.S. to the 1-0 win.
Turner made two miraculous saves early on with the U.S. struggling to get into the game, the second of which was a near-impossible stop on a deflected shot.
With World Cup qualifiers looming, Turner’s heroics certainly have him in the conversation to be the USMNT’s No. 1 as he looks set to compete with Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
Berhalter: It shows how much they wanted to win
In the moments after the penalty was called, Kellyn Acosta was one of several U.S. players displaying a bit of gamesmanship by delaying the kick.
As some mini-scuffles broke out and as Turner did his part in putting off Al-Haydos, the U.S. did just enough to unsettle the taker and, ultimately, change the game.
After the match, U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter said he didn’t get a close enough look at what was going on from his spot on the sidelines, although he said he felt the penalty was soft on first glance.
“I didn’t get a good look at it to comment fairly on it,” Berhalter began, “but I think the guys were disappointed. To me, it was a potentially soft penalty kick. There was movement to go down but before there was very light contact.
“I’m going to watch it over again, and I think it shows how much they wanted to win. I got to see if we went overboard but, the guys wanted to win.”