The USA Women’s National Team punched a ticket to the inaugural W Gold Cup Final on Wednesday night. A rain-soaked pitch at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, CA, was the controversial venue. An evening deluge during the other semifinal between Mexico and Brazil flooded the field. The game went on, and that impacted how the game played out.

With the ground effectively underwater, it was hard for either team to get any positive movement. At times, both Canada and the USWNT would flick the ball up to themselves and clear it just to get more distance on the attempt. Jaedyn Shaw scored her team-leading fourth goal in the CONCACAF W Gold Cup to open the scoring after 20 minutes. Canada center-back Vanessa Gilles went to make a routine pass back to her goalkeeper. The ball caught a puddle and stopped in its tracks. Shaw, pursuing the Canadian back line, suddenly had a free kick in open play, and she tucked her shot into the Canadian net.

With so much water on the field, neither team generated strong chances. The two teams each had just four shots through 120 minutes. Yet, Canada was able to bury one of those opportunities to force extra time. In the 82nd minute, Jordyn Huitema was on the end of a rare strong move going forward by the Canadians. Huitema’s strong header went back across the face of the goal, giving Alyssa Naeher no chance in the USWNT’s net. That forced extra time, which was the second game to go beyond the 90 for Canada.

Alyssa Naeher the hero again for the USWNT

Sophia Smith found the net in the 99th minute of the game. Once again, the Americans took advantage of the wet conditions. A run behind the lines from Smith benefitted from the ball abruptly stopping in its place. Alone on goal, Smith powered the ball into the back of the net to restore the Americans’ lead. That lead would last until the seventh minute of stoppage time in extra time.

In the 121st minute, Naeher collided with Gilles on a lofted pass. Gilles got to the ball before the USWNT’s goalkeeper. A VAR review determined Naeher committed a foul, and Canada had a penalty to send the game to decisive spot kicks. Adriana Leon converted the penalty to force a shootout.

Naeher righted any wrongs from giving away the late penalty by saving three of Canada’s attempts. Even though Korbin Albert failed to score for the USWNT, three conversions from the USWNT were enough. One of those was from Naeher, who converted a spot kick after saving two attempts from Canada. It was the goalkeeper’s second strong performance after her player-of-the-game showing in the quarterfinal against Colombia. That sent the USWNT through to the W Gold Cup Final against Brazil.

Familiar rival for USA in CONCACAF W Gold Cup Final

With the win, the United States will have the chance to compete for a trophy. The game against Brazil is also in San Diego at Snapdragon Stadium. Fortunately, there is no rain in the forecast ahead of Sunday’s game. Coverage in the United States is available on Paramount+ for English-language audiences.

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Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. ET on Paramount+.