Jordan Siebatcheu came off the bench and headed the United States into the CONCACAF Nations League final after a 1-0 victory over Honduras in Denver on Thursday.
Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie provided the vital assist for Siebatcheu's 89th-minute winner which decided a game of few clear-cut chances.
It means Gregg Berhalter's USA have qualified for the first-ever CONCACAF Nations League decider, where they will face either Mexico or Costa Rica in Denver on Sunday.
USA had the first genuine chance of the game when Giovanni Reyna jinked past two defenders inside the box but dragged his 10th-minute shot wide at the far post.
Honduras forward Anthony Lozano had an audacious long-range shot saved by USA and Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen shortly after.
The best opportunity of the first half fell to Honduras in the 27th minute from a deep free-kick into the box, where Alberth Elis looped a header over Steffen but was brilliantly cleared off the line by Josh Sargent.
A melee between the sides broke out with Elis claiming the ball had crossed the line as USA defender John Brooks took exception.
Werder Bremen forward Sargent had a header saved, while Chelsea's Christian Pulisic – part of the Champions League-winning side – had a chance blanketed on half-time too.
Steffen made a crucial intervention to deny Lozano early in the second half, while Elis cut inside and fired over the bar as the game slowed down in the second 45.
McKennie had a tame header saved but USA launched a 78th-minute triple substitution, with Siebatcheu among them.
Siebatcheu stooped to conquer, firing his header past Honduras keeper Luis Lopez from McKennie's headed back after Brooks' hopeful lofted ball into the box.
What does it mean? Relief for USA
Berhalter will breath a major sigh of relief, booking his side's spot in the decider as expected, although it was far from easy. USA have now won five of their past six games.
Siebatcheu a star on the rise
Washington-born, Switzerland-based Siebatcheu was only making his fourth appearance for the Stars and Stripes but marked it with his maiden international goal. He was coming off 15 goals on loan for Young Boys in 2020-21, before they exercised the option to buy him from Rennes a fortnight ago.
Morris caps off stellar 2019
Honduras may have cruised through the group phase but that was back in 2019. Los Catrachos have now failed to win in their past five matches since returning to international football in October last year.
USA will learn their final opponent on Thursday when Mexico and Costa Rica meet, ahead of Sunday's decider. Honduras will play the loser in the third-place final on Sunday too.