New England Soccer Today

U.S. Draws Panama In Group A Finale

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

The United States Men’s National Team overcame a sluggish first half to earn a 1-1 draw against Panama in the Group A finale of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. Blas Perez opened the scoring in the 34th minute, but the U.S. would spark to life in the second half and equalize through Michael Bradley in the 54th minute.

The U.S.—who had clinched first in the group after winning the first two games—now awaits other results to see who they’ll face in the quarterfinals.

Having little to play for, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann made nine changes to the line-up that won 1-0 against Haiti in Foxboro on Friday. Only goalkeeper Brad Guzan and captain Michael Bradley—both of whom started all three group stage matches for the U.S.—remained in the starting eleven.

Panama thought they had opened the scoring on a 10thminute free kick when Eric Davis whipped in a cross that found Luis Tejada. Tejada directed it past Guzan from close range, but was ruled offside.

The U.S. threatened in the 16th minute when former Boston College midfielder Alejandro Bedoya was played behind the defense and ran in on goal. Bedoya attempted a shot from a tight angle, but it was well saved by Jaime Penedo.

Two minutes later Michael Bradley tested Penedo with a shot from distance that the Panamanian ‘keeper could only push wide.

A 22nd minute corner kick gave Panama another early chance when Armando Cooper whipped in a cross that U.S. defender Ventura Alvarado directed on his own goal. Guzan made the save, but dropped the ball. It fell to Valentin Pimentel, who hammered a shot on goal, but Fabian Johnson was there to clear it off the line.

Panama would deservedly take the lead in the 34th minute when Luis Tejada turned on Alvarado and sent a pass across goal to Perez for an easy tap in to make it 1-0.

The U.S. had a shout for a penalty kick in the 41st minute when Wondolowski played Bedoya behind the defense. Panama defender Harold Cummings tripped up Bedoya as he ran into the box, but referee Roberto Garcia waived off the protests.

The U.S. would equalize in the 54th minute after an impressive passing sequence. Dempsey slid in to send a pass to Bedoya streaking into the box. Bedoya then sent a low cross in front of goal that Bradley directed past Penedo to make it 1-1.

Panama had chances to retake the lead in the second half and came close in the 75th minute as Panama broke on a counterattack after a U.S. corner kick was cleared. Roberto Nurse sent in a dangerous cross to Miguel Camargo in the box, who one-timed a shot on frame. Only a diving Guzan kept the effort out.

Panama had a few stoppage time opportunities to grab a winner on the counterattack, but couldn’t beat Guzan.

The U.S. next heads to Baltimore for the Quarterfinals on Saturday with their opponent yet to be determined.

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