June 22, the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Panama 1-0 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals and now advance to the finals on June 25 where they’ll face Mexico for the third consecutive tournament. USMNT played the game with a point to prove, as Panama had finished in first place in Group C after defeating USA, who finished second.
Clint Dempsey scored his third goal of the tournament and the 22nd of career in the 76th minute after Donovan dropped the cross on a dime. Surprisingly it was Freddy Adu who started the sequence and also contributed several sharp plays after he replaced Juan Agudelo in the 66th minute. Although his return to the National Team after two years was met with marked skepticism, Adu brought a particular vision and skillset that improved the team.
“It was a great ball from Freddy [Adu] to open up Landon [Donovan],” said Dempsey. “All I had to do was try to put myself in a position that he could find me. I felt far post was the way to go. He hit it hard and low, and all I had to do was put my foot on it. That’s why after the goal I tried to go and celebrate with him, because without that pass there was no goal.”
Donovan didn’t appear until the 4th minute when he replaced Sacha Klejstan, who was largely invisible.
“Not surprised at all, Bob and I spoke about it all week,” said Donovan. “Throughout the years we’ve always been very open and honest with our communication, so there’s nothing left to the imagination…We were on the same page, and I wanted to make sure that when I came in I could make an impact.”
Mexico defeats Honduras
Not surprisingly, Mexico shut out Honduras 2-0 in their semifinal and will face the USA in the final. El Chicharito and Aldo de Negris scored the goals. Mexico has been allowed to replaced the five players who were disqualified for substance abuse after it was determined they were affected by tainted chicken.
Click on the slideshow at the left or click here for a photo gallery of the game with the work of Getty photographer Bob Levey.
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— U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report —
Match: United States vs. Panama
Date: June 22, 2011
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup – Semifinal
Venue: Reliant Stadium – Houston, Texas
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT
USA – Clint Dempsey (Landon Donovan) 76th minute
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 14-Eric Lichaj; 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones; 22-Alejandro Bedoya, 16-Sacha Kljestan (10-Landon Donovan, 46), 8-Clint Dempsey; 9-Juan Agudelo (20-Freddy Adu, 66)
Subs not used: 7-Maurice Edu, 11-Chris Wondolowski, 12-Jonathan Bornstein, 15-Tim Ream, 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 (20-Anibal Godoy, 86), 10-Nelson Barahona (8-Gabriel Torres, 86), 11-Armando Cooper (16-Luis Renteria, 71), 21-Amilcar Henríquez; 18-Luis Tejada, 19-Alberto Quintero
Subs not used: 3-Harold Cummings, 4-Aramis Haywood, 9-Renan Addles, 12-Luis Mejía, 15-Eric Davis, 22-Eybir Bonaga
Head Coach: Julio Dely Valdes
Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots: 5 / 8
Shots on goal: 1 / 2
Saves: 2 / 0
Fouls: 21 / 10
Corners: 2 / 3
Offside: 2 / 2
PAN – Armando Cooper (caution) 18th minute
PAN – Luis Henríquez (caution) 36
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (caution) 68
PAN – Gabriel Gomez (caution) 72
Referee: Enrico Wijngaarde (SUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Hector Vergara (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Leonel Leal (CRC)
Fourth Official: David Gantar (CAN)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey