Gold Cup Semifinals: Five of the Best
Action from the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal between Mexico (white jersey) and Costa Rica. (Photo: Mexsport)

MIAMI -- With defending champion Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and the United States preparing to dispute the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals, offers a selection of five of the most memorable final-four matches – by date order -- from the past 13 editions of the competition.

July 5, 1991 (Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, California, USA)
USA 2, Mexico 0

A year after playing in its first World Cup in 40 years, the United States took the next step in its football development by winning the first-ever CONCACAF Gold Cup.  It stunned favored Mexico in the semifinals, 2-0, on goals by defender John Doyle (48’) and forward Peter Vermes (64’), while goalkeeper Tony Meola – the tournament’s eventual MVP -- recorded the shutout.  The Americans overcame Honduras in the final on penalty kicks after a scoreless draw.

February 10, 1998 (Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, California, USA)
USA 1, Brazil 0

Kasey Keller made 10 saves, many spectacular, as the United States defeated reigning FIFA World Cup champion Brazil for the first time.  Romario, the 1994 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball winner, was denied three times by Keller, compelling the Brazil legend to offer his congratulations after the match and calling the performance, the greatest “I have ever seen by a goalkeeper.”  Preki Radosavljevic entered as a substitute to net the game-winning goal for the second time in three days, scoring off a 22-yard shot in the 65th minute. The U.S. lost in the final, 1-0, to Mexico.

July 21, 2005 (Giants Stadium – East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA)
Honduras 1, USA 2

Honduras was ahead 1-0 -- thanks to a first-half goal by Mario Ivan Guerrero (30') -- and minutes away from an upset, when the USA’s John O’Brien capitalized on a mistake by Erick Vallecillo to equalize in the 86th minute.  Then, two minutes into stoppage time, Oguchi Onyewu headed in Landon Donovan's 30-yard free kick for the winner.  U.S. head coach Bruce Arena was dismissed in the 59th minute, missing the final that his team captured on penalty kicks over Panama after a scoreless draw.

July 23, 2009 (Soldier Field – Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Costa Rica 1, Mexico 1 (3:5 pens)

Before Mexico upended the United States in the final, 5-0, it had to get past Costa Rica in a dramatic semifinal.  Guillermo Franco gave the Tricolor a 1-0 in the 88th minute lead. Three minutes into stoppage time, though, Froylan Ledezma equalized for the Central Americans with the only Gold Cup goal of his career.  In a turn of events, Ledezma’s hero status dipped in the penalty-kick shootout as a result of being the only Tico to miss his attempt.  Franco, Giovani dos Santos, Gerardo Torrado and Efrain Juarez converted their attempts for Mexico, before Carlos Vela tallied the clincher.

July 22, 2015 (Georgia Dome – Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

USA 1, Jamaica 2

Jamaica earned a 2-1 win over the defending champion United States to become the first Caribbean team to progress to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.  In a stunning encounter, the Reggae Boyz absorbed significant amounts of initial U.S. pressure to strike twice before halftime through Darren Mattocks (30’, header off the right post) and Giles Barnes (35’, free kick into right side of net).  Michael Bradley (48’, left foot from seven-yards out) scored the Americans shortly after the interval, but the Jamaicans managed to hold on for a historic victory.  Jamaica fell 3-1 to Mexico (a 2-1 extra-winner over Panama in other semifinal) in the final.