New England Soccer Today

U.S. Powers Through Panama

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The U.S. Men’s National Team overwhelmed Panama 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., winning their first game on American soil since last June and snapping a five-game winless run.

Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey both scored in the first half to lead a squad that was composed almost exclusively of MLS-based players. In goal, Nick Rimando and Sean Johnson each played the first and second half, respectively, helping the U.S. notch their first clean sheet since Sept. 3.

Despite a sloppy opening ten minutes, the U.S. controlled the entirety of the match and limited to Panama to only a handful of chances, edging them 5-1 in shots on target.

Bradley opened the scoring in the 27th minute from the corner flag with a memorable “olimpico” finish. With Jozy Altidore screening the back post, Bradley shot over the head of Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and into the back of the net, the ball nestling into the net underneath the joint of the crossbar and the post.

Ten minutes later, Dempsey added an insurance tally, his 40th international goal. The play started in the 37th minute, as Los Angeles Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes won the ball in midfield and made a 20-yard run as Dempsey and Altidore ran ahead of him in space. Zardes then slotted a feed for Dempsey in behind the back line, who rounded Penedo and poked the ball into the back of the net for the 2-0 lead.

The play was a defining moment for Zardes, who had earned his first start in U.S. jersey in front of his home fans.

The U.S. lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, using Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones as a center back for the entirety of the game. Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen came on as a substitute for Miguel Ibarra in the 79th minute.

Six players who had five or fewer caps going into Sunday’s game — Nguyen, Ibarra, Sean Johnson, Matt Hedges, Perry Kitchen, and Luis Gil — all made appearances.

The U.S.’s next match is on March 25 against Denmark in Aarhus.

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