June 11, Panama stunned the USA 2-1 in CONCACAF Gold Cup group play at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida. It was the first-ever loss for the USA in Gold Cup group play.
With the result, Panama advance to the quarterfinals and the USA must defeat third and final Group C opponent Guadaloupe on Tuesday, June 14, to advance in the tournament.
Luis Tejada scored unassisted in the 19th minute after a skirmish in the box left goalkeeper Tim Howard out of the box and Tejada unmarked. Gabriel Gomez doubled the advantage by converting a penalty in the 36th minute. Central defender Clarence Goodson spoiled the shut out with a brave header, assisted by Michael Bradley capitalizing on a Landon Donovan corner kick.
“It’s bound to happen at some point. CONCACAF teams are getting better and better,” said Donovan. “That’s a pretty good team that we played against.
It’s disappointing, but the reality is that it is over now and we‘ve got to learn something from it. But that doesn’t help us for Tuesday.”
What went wrong for the U.S.
The problem with the U.S. Men’s National Team began before they stepped on the field, about the time the roster for a competition against Central American and Caribbean Nations was named without Herculez Gomez or Jose Torres. With head coach Bob Bradley’s roster and starting 11, the USA were second best from the whistle.
Two goals down in the first half was too great a deficit for a re-energized and slightly altered U.S. squad to overcome in the secnd half.
But the choice of players alone was not to blame, because Bradley’s rigid tactics prevented the USA from responding to Panama, a nation of 3.5 million people. Panama threw waves of crafty players forward in small teams, while their U.S counterparts were relegated to wide spacing in disciplined and predictable lines. The game somewhat resembled Revolutionary war patriots successfully battling the organized British redcoats.
Panama were also more proficient shooters. Although the USA launched 20 shots to Panama’s 12, five of Panama’s shots were on goal compared to only four by the U.S. Yet as Bradley started the questionable Jozy Altidore and young, inexperienced Juan Agudelo (seven caps) together on top, he didn’t deserve any better.
In his game plan, Bradley didn’t properly consider officiating, which here largely represents the style of the CONCACAF nations, and in this case Mexico. Referee Marco Rodriguez had no tolerance for the larger Americans’ physical play and no issue with the Panamanians dropping to the ground after a heavy touch. This style was to be expected, yet Bradley’s squad seemed unprepared with the U.S. earning five cautions to Panama’s two.
Coaching and leadership
With Bradley now working into his second World Cup cycle, the USMNT hasn’t had a foreign coach in 16 years. Steve Sampson, Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley have been steering the U.S. Soccer program with varying degrees of success in that period. As gratifying as it may be to have an American coach leading the U.S. team, it stands to reason that an elite international coach could provide a different approach to bring the United States to a higher level of international play.
Mexico, Panama and Jamaica advance
Besides Group C Panama advancing to the quarterfinals, Jamaica advanced in Group B, and Mexico advanced in Group A.
Team G W D L P
Panama 2 2 0 0 6
United States 2 1 0 1 3
Canada 2 1 0 1 3
Guadeloupe 2 0 0 2 0
Click on the slideshow at the left or click here to enjoy a photo gallery of the game.
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— U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report —
Match: USA vs. Panama
Date: June 11, 2011
Competition: 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup; Group C
Venue: Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Weather: 85 degrees, warm
PAN – Luis Tejada 19th minute
PAN – Gabriel Gómez (penalty kick) 36
USA –Clarence Goodson (Michael Bradley) 68
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson (11-Chris Wondolowski, 78), 15-Tim Ream, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.); 8-Clint Dempsey, 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones (16-Sacha Kljestan, 60), 10-Landon Donovan; 17-Jozy Altidore, 9-Juan Agudelo (22-Alejandro Bedoya, 61)
Subs not used: 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 7-Maurice Edu, 14-Eric Lichaj, 23-Marcus Hahnemann
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
PAN: 1-Jaime Penedo; 5-Román Torres, 14-Eduardo Dasent, 17-Luis Henríquez, 23-Felipe Baloy (capt.); 6-Gabriel Gómez, 10-Nelson Barahona (8-Gabriel Torres, 70), 11-Armando Cooper (19-Alberto Quintero, 84), 21-Amilcar Henríquez; 7-Blas Pérez, 18-Luis Tejada (22-Eybir Bonaga, 81)
Subs not used: 3-Harold Cummings, 12-Luis Mejía, 15-Eric Davis, 16-Luis Renteria
Head Coach: Julio Dely Valdes
Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots: 20 / 12
Shots on goal: 4 / 5
Saves: 2 / 6
Corner Kicks: 7 / 2
Fouls: 18 / 17
Offside: 0 / 2
USA – Jermaine Jones (caution) 18th minute
PAN – Armando Cooper (caution) 25
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution) 25
USA – Clarence Goodson (caution) 56
USA – Alejandro Bedoya (caution) 64
PAN – Jaime Penedo (caution) 90+2
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (caution) 90+3
Referee: Marco Rodríguez (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Luis Camargo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Morín (MEX)
Fourth Official: Jeffrey Solis (CRC)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Clarence Goodson