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Gold Cup

USA 2-1 Panama AET: A Job Well Done


In each of the last two Gold Cups the United States and Panama have played competitive knock out stage matches. With that backdrop, much was expected tonight and the game was every bit as competitive as the previous two. I thought before the game the game would be decided by a single goal either way. That happened, but the match proved to be less open than I had anticipated.

An impressive crowd and a well maintained though smallish pitch greeted the teams in Philadelphia. Unlike Seattle, who have proven they can support MLS and traveling EPL clubs but not the USA, Philly actually proved they can turn out in mass for a USA game with second choice players. (Seattle also unfortunately proved that they’ll roll grass out for Chelsea and not for the national team which is another issue for me)

So with a great crowd greeting the national team to Philadelphia and a beautiful pitch, the US did not disappoint early. Showing an attacking intent Brian Ching hit the post and Chad Marshall just misconnected on a beautiful free kick from Stuart Holden.

This was an impressive start considering how solid Panama had looked in its last two group games at the back, but the US opened up the Panamanians right down the middle. But without a goal, as the first half went on the narrow pitch came into play as both Robbie Rogers and Stuart Holden struggled to find space out wide.

Kyle Beckerman and Heath Pearce were very impressive early. Jimmy Conrad’s concussion on a set piece late in the first half was directly answered by a beautiful goal by Blas Perez. Perez interestingly enough just signed a contract days ago to leave the FMF and play in the Middle East for big money.

Beckerman stepped up and delivered a wonder strike when Stuart Holden, who struggled much of the night with spacing couldn’t control a ball in the area as it floated towards Beckerman. The US looked poised to win the match in regulation but did not. Kenny Cooper’s PK won the match for the US in extra time.

For all of Bob Bradley’s critics it must be disheartening that the US manager continues to press the right buttons in this tournament. Severally undermanned (Panama had the superior team on paper tonight)the manager once again got his tactics right despite the smallish pitch. Bradley’s limitations as a manager internationally were certainly exposed at times in the Confederations Cup, but back in the friendly confines of CONCACAF, it’s difficult to outfox him.

He also got all his subs right. Clarence Goodson, who has become a goal scoring threat on set pieces for IK Start was a handful in dead ball situations. Kenny Cooper was dangerous playing off of Brian Ching instead of as a target man. Brad Evans brought some extra defensive help to the side.

Given the squad, the US has achieved if not exceeded all reasonable and measured expectations for this tournament. Some may disagree, but studying CONCACAF as carefully as I do in preparation for World Cup qualifying and the Gold Cup I firmly believe Grenada is the only team the USMNT has faced in this tournament that we were clearly superior to. Now the US plays a Honduras team that they dominated for much of the match last week. The Hondurans, missing the majority of their big guns like the United States, don’t pose the type of  aerial, athletic or tactical threat Panama did tonight. The US may have in fact dispatched the side most likely to beat them in the tournament in sending the Panamanians home.

For several members of this team the Gold Cup in 2009 represents the pinnacle of their football careers. Unlikely to make a World Cup squad and playing club football in the relative obscurity of MLS, this is a big moment for many of them. They should continue to savor it.


Perkins 6

Heaps  7

Marshall 5

Conrad  6

Pearce 7

Pause 5

Beckerman 8

Holden 7

Rogers 4

Ching 5

Arnaud 6

Goodson 6

Cooper 5

Evans 5

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  1. vibram five fingers

    June 18, 2010 at 4:45 am

    I agree with Steve.

  2. chi flat iron

    August 12, 2009 at 5:37 am

    I agree about Holden, he needs to be called up to camp for the rest of the qualifiers. I’m almost positive that he’s had a big part in most of the goals we’ve scored in this tournament. Hopefully some teams are looking at him for this upcoming european season. He’d be a project for them for sure, but he’d still get reserve games more than likely so he’d still be playing.
    chi hair straightener

  3. Jimbo

    July 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    What a clown you are Chris! hahaha… now my only comment is that i am impressed that there were no latino players or i did not see any on saturday´s game and it is the first time i see it in a usmnt… good for you us team…you are finally having/producing your own players…if i am wrong about what i am saying please correct me, thanks!

  4. Chris

    July 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I have not said anything racial about nobody…if you want me to say something racial i will and believe me i can…it almost seems like your wanting me to hahahaha…the reason there was no african american players on the team during the panama game because most of them was in EUROPE. we have quite a few african americans….do i have to remind of you gooch vs borgettie (however you spell his name). Demarcus Beasley, Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore..Charlie Davis…it sounds like you know nothing about the USA team…I think you have grown a hate the USA team because we have surpassed Mexico in playing football…I think your Jelous because we was in the Confederations Cup and ended up in the finals, I have no problem with the mexican team.. but what i dislike is its fans claiming we are racist when in fact we arent alot of players on our team or of another another nationality and american mixed you fools, I hope edgar castillo comes here he needs to be on a team that has class and wants to get things done. Never once have predicted the game against mexico or if we even meet mexico. Im not looking past Honduras…apparentley there is some Mexican fans on here that is already thinking its going to be Mexico and USA in the final…I do know one thing…USA and Mexico WCQ is coming August 12th…nor am i predicting a game then…I believe in my team and…Mexicans or anybody of any other nationlaity can say what they want about the USA team…we love to be hated and we love people running thier mouth…because we know how to put the Shock and Awe on them. enough said im done posting in this thread….thre rest of you guys can sit around and pop your mouth of about the USA team…i just wonder what your going to do if mexico gets beat by Costa Rica…?

    P.S. Remember the game in Arizona when we played mexico…after Landon went all the way down the field ran aorund Sanchez and put it in the back of the net…and then one of our players came around Sanchez and he tried to clip his heels…OOOOOO YEAH real class man….you bunch of fuckin dick wad shit for brains. Fuck yall…quit hatin alright..conversation ended

  5. Steve

    July 20, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I too wish Seattle had rolled out the grass a while ago…if they’re going to have it for a game, they might as well take advantage of the entire time the Seahawks aren’t using the facility. They do know what the advanced ticket sales look like though, and it’s alot easier to justify dropping 100,000 bucks to install grass when they sold 62,000 tickets than for a Gold Cup game that didn’t even draw 25% of the crowd.

  6. Terry

    July 20, 2009 at 10:47 am

    A good performance for sure, but we need better finishing from our strikers. Ching and Cooper consistently missed the target.

  7. Football Tactician

    July 20, 2009 at 1:44 am

    Futball fan pwned Chris

    Hey Chris, you’re outta your league. You don’t know football.

    Next time, shut your mouth if you have anything to say about Mexico. You’re an idiot

  8. Cruz Azul Fan

    July 20, 2009 at 1:20 am

    my fellow mexicans i would not talk smack to the usa until we actually start beating them. this having been said the usa fan base is largely racist. i was impressed by the number of latino and black players on the usa team versus panama. oh wait, their were not any!

  9. Chris

    July 20, 2009 at 1:10 am

    All I can say is we will see…I could careless about this gold cup..We are looking to win it but we are really just finding some players we can add to our team…we stayed composed through the game…nobody was acting edgey or anything. The Haiti game we were just looking for our one moment we sure wasnt in no hurry and when the moment came Holden put it in the back of the net. The panama game we went a whole 120 mins and was what seemed like having no problems keeping possesion and just makin them pay for thier dirty work. Im not worried about mexico at all lol like i said you guts havent played Costa Rica yet in this tournament…you can worry about the USA and make comments about playing the USA when we get to the game if we meet.

    Acutally not USA supporter on here is being “racist” and we are deftinaly not beating down mexicans or any other nationality at a game…but im guess you guys dont know what class is since you think it is okay for the mexican coach to kick a player hahahahahaha… anyhow.. p.s. dont be jelous because you guys cant do the stanky leg hahahahahaha

  10. Lars

    July 20, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Football Tactician: I would wholeheartedly disagree with that statement and I think it’s unfair and ridiculously biased. Last time I checked, americans weren’t murdering their neighbours over football. When the USMNT supporters are doing what Serbians do to Croatians and vice versa, then you can make that statement.

    All you’ve done is taken credibility away from yourself.

    Oh, and I’m not american.

  11. Football Tactician

    July 20, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Futball fan is right. usmnt supporters were talking trash about Mexico, saying “classless” and all that. Panama was the classless team in Mexico’s match against them, and now you see firsthand what they’re all about.

    usmnt supporters are the most ignorant, uninformed, racist fanbase in world football.

  12. Futball fan

    July 19, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    u couldnt finish off Haiti it ended 2 2….yet Mexico 4 0?!lol …son take a rest

  13. Chris

    July 19, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Futball fan, your just mad cuz you couldnt finish off Panama when they wasnt playing as dirty as they was against would have to be compltey blind to think they didnt play more dirty in the USA game as they played against mexico alright. what started trouble in the mexico game was when the mexico player was down and got back up and started kickin the ball while it was sitting next to a downed panama player. and then when it was on the sideline the mexican coach kicked the panama player. there was no sense in that…he wasnt trying to stop the ball at all…the ball is not in the panama players private least not the one thats rolling on the ground. And then all hells breaks loose in the crowd and on the field…pathetic man…have some class…and then our game…we have fouls called on us when we are litterly just standing there…sorry man you dont even know what dirty play is… a krate kick to the gut should be an automatic red card espically with it being in the pentaly area. I think you should keep your mouth shut son mexico led on the antics when your coach kicked the panama player… least our team and our coach has alot more class and respect to not to fight with the other team and cause the crowd to throw shit all over the field and crap.. get lost man…you still gotta get through Costa Rica buddy…Me and the rest of the fans of the USA national team and the USA national team isnt looking past Honduras. We will talk about Mexico and USA when it comes. You should be worrying about Costa Rica okay.

  14. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 19, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Costa Rica and Honduras still may have something to say about it. Costa Rica looked better without Centano tonight, using younger guys and looking more lively. Honduras sent a “B” team but still have Costly and Martinez up front.

  15. Futball fan

    July 19, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Chris get off your mom’s computer son,And the US just cried ooh Panama is playing dirty blah blah blah.Def ear’s when Mexico said so bit of irony you douche?!

    Anyway Mexico vs US in the final US 2nd team?vs Mexico’s 4th..cant wait!

  16. Chris

    July 19, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    AVR, Lord man you thought Panama out played us AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH excuse me HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. They didnt out play NOBODY…they were playing something other than football last night man. We are playing with our B,C,D team if our first team was there, there would prolly be higher scores..what we are seeing is what our younger team has…and are looking to find depth to our team…and I think we our finding depth.

  17. AVR

    July 19, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    I think this team is getting lucky. Haiti is terrible contrary to what kartik says and we were fortunate to draw. Panama really outplayed us considering they were packing the back and looking to hit us on the counter. Honduras dominated the first half of the last game and they are missing as many regulars as we were in that game, although with Dolo, Davies and Benny now gone it’s pretty even.

    This team will be killed by Mexico unless Bradley makes changes

  18. adam

    July 19, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Rogers was poor yesterday as was Chad Marshall and Heaps. The rest of the team was outstanding. Go USA!

  19. ERT09

    July 19, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    good piece- i agree this team has over achieved. BTW, are you doing the Miami FC game on USL Live? Sounds like you!

  20. Lars

    July 19, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Gold Cup predictions through to 2017, Courtesy of the Voyageurs Site:

    2009 Gold Cup Final – USA vs. Mexico

    2011 Gold Cup Final – USA vs. Mexico

    2013 Gold Cup Final – USA vs. Mexico

    2015 Gold Cup Final – USA vs. Mexico

    2017 Gold Cup Final – USA vs. Mexico

    Signed Jack Warner

  21. Rex

    July 19, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    After watching my boys play Panama, I actually do have some sympathy now for Mexico. The officiating was poor.

  22. LS

    July 19, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Wow. The calls in this tournament are making the games look more pre-determined than pro wrestling matches. Let’s just skip to the US – Mexico final and save everyone some time.

  23. Chris

    July 19, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Kartik Krishnaiyer, Is Concacaf not going to look into this…the ref obviously did nothing good in this match..along with not showing the mexico and USA game on English tv we should demand this ref not to be the ref in the mexico-usa game…because shit will hit the fan then.

  24. Chris

    July 19, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Futball fan, With all do respect panama played more physical with us okay and you know the ref didnt blow his whistle that much against panama like they did against mexico. the reason the game got out of hand with mexico is cuz the mexican coach hit a panama player in the nuts. hahaha

  25. Futball fan

    July 19, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Mexico said that this team didnt play football all they did was foul and try and stop the play and a bunch of naive US fan’s called them whiner’s cause of this..Ohhhhh the irony!

  26. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 19, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Yeah and that same ref has been assigned to the US-Mexico game at Azteca. Stalteri’s arms were up in the air to avoid contact with he ball yet the official bought it- tragic indeed. Canada had been the best team in this tourney in the group stage but sadly much like Holland in the 08 Euros, Spain in the 06 World Cup and many others in the past bowed out in the first knockout round.

  27. Lars

    July 19, 2009 at 10:52 am

    I’m disappointed with the crap penalty call on Canada myself.

  28. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 19, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Bored Casual Fan- Building a football culture is difficult. I’m sure you’ll be pulling hard for England next year. Good riddance.

    BTW, Panama has done a remarkable job considering their size and the national emphasis on Baseball. They are a coming CONCACAF power, while Guatemala is fading and El Salvador probably doesn’t have the resources to maintain the remarkable strides they’ve made in the last two years.

  29. wllmhll

    July 19, 2009 at 9:21 am

    conrad was mental. brilliant.

  30. Jon

    July 19, 2009 at 8:09 am

    If population size was any indicator of football success, China and India should dominate the world scene and Holland, Ireland, Switzerland, Serbia, and Romania should have no business making World Cups.

    That was one of the more ridiculous comments I’ve heard trying to bash American soccer in some time. Get a clue.

  31. World Cup Travel Expert

    July 19, 2009 at 4:34 am

    Regarding the size of country argument…I think it is interesting to consider how many players at any age level in the US had parents who played soccer.

    After writing this I had to laugh when I thought of B. Bradley and M. Bradley. My guess is that the US is still at very early stages in benefiting from what I call “football families”.

  32. Vnice

    July 19, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Bored casual fan…

    You’re just another asshole that doesn’t give a shit about loyalty, country, or the journey that soccer has to go through to be on par with the rest of the world.

    You’re exactly the kind of person I don’t want following soccer because you’re a fucking whiner.

    Supporting leagues and teams because they are good means you’re a sheep that follows the trends. Not a real fan. Not a real man.

  33. Jack(Vegas)

    July 19, 2009 at 2:11 am

    Well, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. The size of the country argument is extremely misleading. How many American men have played at least a single game of organized or even a street game of soccer. I don’t know the answer but if you think about this I consider it somewhat remarkable the results US soccer has achieved. We are still a ways off from reaching our full potential, I intend to enjoy the journey with its peaks and valleys. If you choose not to I don’t think anyone on this website is going to lose any sleep over your choice.

  34. bored_former_casual_fan

    July 19, 2009 at 1:33 am

    Boring! Try passing the ball to a player on your own team instead of just kicking it wherever. Duh.

    This is a country of 300 million people. Panama’s population is 3,309,679. (It’s on Google.) So just doing the math, our C team ought to beat their best 11. So should our 88th best team. That an MLS heavy USMT played Panama to such a boring, skill-less, unwatchable draw made me decide that I’m not going to start following MLS any time soon, and that US soccer has a looooong long way to go before I waste any more time on it. Wake me up in 2030.

  35. peter osgood

    July 19, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Kartik – isn’t the real point who is actually on the pitch for national side in this match? As you well predicted Panama is a coming side in concacaf, and the only two players who’s performance really matters in the larger scheme of things was Roger’s and Holden’s. No one else has a chance of making a difference in SA or anytime after.

    The backline was painful, absolutely seventh rate, including Conrad. They are all horrible proffesional footballers by any decent standard.

    Beckerman does a fine job on this amatuer level, Arnaud worked his socks off and was seemingly a much better partner for Cooper – that sub didn’t make any sense.

    Great to see Cooper make a difference of course, and it is truly on him to force a move overseas in order to be in the mix going forward.

    No imagionation from BB and his staff on what younger talented players could feature in a match like this that would have been a great testing ground. There are plenty that could have replaced Pause or Pearce or fucking heaps or Ching without the team jeapordizing it’s chance to win.

    Winning matters always, but bleeding younger players in competitive matches is the most important aspect of a gold cup knock-out in a year when winning the cup doesnt send one to the Confederations Cup.

  36. Jack(Vegas)

    July 19, 2009 at 12:08 am

    The Ref allowed for a very physical game but he was fairly consistent which is all the players want from a ref. I don’t understand how Panama can blame the ref for the penalty. I mean in a prison league that is a penalty. It was interesting to see variations in sportsmanship from Panama , going from helping Conrad off the pitch to attacking the ref and security officials.

    The Yanks played pretty solidly from the second half on. I think that it will be interesting to see if Bob Bradley calls in some of his other available players for the next game. This may not be the A team but for quite a few players this is their world cup and they almost seem to be destined to make it to the final and continue the tradition of beating Mexico on American soil.

  37. eplnfl

    July 18, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Chris, you are right on Panama players who went out of control at the end of the game. Why did FSC have to cut away right when the outburst started is a good question. I also thought a red card was in order and not a yellow on the penalty to Cooper. It was a foot first into him. Then I am all for a little build up before the PK but the Panama squad was all over Cooper. Wasn’t it enough that the US had one player in the hospital already for Panama. For all the talk about their coaching, did Panama show anything that really impressed you tactics wise. Best you can say is the defense played well at times to keep the US from winning by 2 in regulation and forcing the extra time.

    As far as Bob Bradley goes he should be applauded for getting this team to play so well together in such a short time. Ok, this is a C team and as far as team work goes it looked as good as the Varsity. Let’s make it clear that each win by him at this level is a coaching achievement. The detractors will be out but maybe not in force.

    So it’s on to Chicago and hopefully NY but in any event Bradley shows that given time he can bring along a team nicely.

  38. Chris

    July 18, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    1. The ref should be banned from the concacaf region

    2. Jimmy Conrad…what a tough son of a bitch..reminds me of the time brian mcbride got that elbow to the face by de rossi lol.

    3. Panama sucks

    4. Panama players should be put in jail for assulting the refs and a security guard.

  39. quakesin2kNever

    July 18, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    1) Jimmy Conrad is an unsung hero. Tip of the hat to him for all his hard work. He is a true worker and gave it his all. That hit he took was legit.

    2) The ref sucked

    3) Goodsen and Holden need to learn how to play defense stat if they are gonna be useful in WC 2k10.

    4) PS: My quakes freaking blew it tonight. ZOMG. We suck. This new guy McDonald is not the solution on defense. Very poor clearance led to easy goal. Ugh.

  40. DrJonS

    July 18, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Well done for our national team!! Extremely physical match, and to come from behind is simply brilliant! The challenge they faced cannot be understated. The ref let a very physical match be played, for better or for worse, but we persevered!!

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