SAN DIEGO – After the loss to Jamaica in the semifinal, the U.S. Men’s National Team fell short once more in the third place match against Panama on July 25th. If not making it to the final match wasn’t good enough, the U.S. also missed the third place as well. This was the United States worst Gold Cup result in 15 years.
The U.S. was very disappointed and came out extremely flat in this third place game, as they were expecting to play in the final. Panama on the other side, had all that anger from that semifinal against Mexico accumulated and they had a point to prove. They came out as the better team and deserved the win.
The game against Panama resulted in a 1-1 draw in regular time and went to penalty shootouts in which Panama topped the U.S. by 3-2.
California native Chris Wondolowski played for 60 minutes, had 1 shot and committed 2 fouls. Joe Corona, the San Diego local played for the entire 120 minutes and suffered 3 fouls.
[quote_box_center]”Give Panama credit, they played better than we did today from top to bottom,” Beasley said. “They definitely deserved to win. They played good football today. We just didn’t bring it.”[/quote_box_center]
Panama did have a much better first half than the U.S. creating more goal opportunities, holding possession and controlling the game, however the first half still ended with no goals. With 55 minutes on the clock, all of their efforts finally paid off when Roberto Nurse had an amazing play dribbling both John Books and Tim Ream with plenty of time to score Panama’s first goal.
About 15 minutes after Panama’s first goal, the U.S. answered back. This time it was DeAndre Yedlin who did all the hard work by attracting Panama’s defenders and then passing the ball to Clint Dempsey who was by himself to put it in, scoring his 7th goal in the tournament as finishing as the leading scorer of the tournament.
There was a moment of tension in the 81st minute of the match when Panama had a great opportunity to score with Ronaldo Blackburn with a header, but luckily for the U.S. Brad Guzan came up strong by making a huge save to his left and then also saving the rebound on the ground.
There were also other occasions in which Panama was close to scoring, but thanks to clearances from Tim Ream and Fabian Johnson the U.S. was able to keep the score as a draw until the end of regular time.
As the regular time ended in a 1-1 draw, the PKs were unavoidable. Clint Dempsey and Aron Johannsoon were the first two to shoot and both scored, but unfortunately Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson did not have the same luck as Bradley had his shot saved and Johnson missed the goal by shooting too high. U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan did what he could to help the team by saving Armando Cooper’s shot which was Panama’s third shot, but the U.S. did not take advantage of that and fell short at the end, losing in PKs by 3-2.
This was the first time in 10 years that the USMNT lost in a PK shootout, as last time the U.S. played PKs was also against Panama in the 2005 Gold Cup. This was the third consecutive time that Panama finished up in the top 3 at a Gold Cup.