USA wins 1-0 over Panama

E. Hatcher: I guessed it correctly before the game. USA 1-0!!! reported:

HOUSTON – United States men’s national team coach Bob Bradley pulled out all the cards on a bizarre night in the Lone Star State.

In the end, he looked like a genius.

After being frustrated by a disciplined Panama squad, Bradley inserted Landon Donovan and Freddy Adu in the second half and watched both players set up a Clint Dempsey goal to lift the U.S. to a 1-0 victory over Panama at Reliant Stadium on Wednesday.

The American’s, who suffered an embarrassing defeat to Panama in the group stage, advance to the Gold Cup final for the fourth straight time and will play either Mexico or Honduras next weekend in Pasadena, Calif.

The U.S. controlled possession early on but its only real scoring opportunity in the first half came at the 25th minute when Steve Cherundolo played a nice ball to Juan Agudelo, who headed it off the post. It only had three shots in the first 45 minutes.

That’s when Bradley decided to make the changes.

Donovan, who came off the bench for the second straight game, entered after halftime for Sacha Kljestan. Adu made his first national team appearance in two years when he came in at the 66th minute for Agudelo.

It only took 10 minutes before both midfielders made a big difference.

The 22-year-old Adu, who was the most surprising selection for the team after being considered a bust by many, set up Dempey’s goal in the 76th minute when he found a streaking Donovan down the right side of the field. Donovan carried the ball into the box before dishing it to a lunging Dempsey at the far post.

Panama had all its opportunites in the second half but failed to capitalize.

After having much success with the 4-2-3-1 formation against Jamaica, Bradley used pretty much the same lineup against Panama. The only change was made up front, as Agudelo replaced the injured Jozy Altidore as the team’s lone striker.

Altidore suffered a hamstring injury in the quarterfinals and will be out for 4-6 weeks. He was having a solid tournament, recording two goals and one assist in the team’s three group-stage games.

For the second straight game, Bradley opted to have Donovan come off the bench. The star midfielder had originally lost his starting position prior to the Jamaica match due to a lack of sleep after attending his sister’s wedding California a day earlier.

Panama was without arguably its most dangerous player in Blaz Perez, who along with Luis Tejada caused the American defenders several problems in the previous meeting. Perez was a suspended after picking up a red card against El Salvador.


I think that we did just enough to get by. That is certainly not a good thing for it won’t last in the championship, I promise. Unless the United States get it together we will not win the Gold Cup. I believe that the US is going to play Mexico in the finals and we all know they have talent. Chicharito is one of the best player’s of all time in CONCACAF history. He and the rest of the Mexican team will bring a big challenge for the United States on June 25!!!

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