New England Soccer Today

Panama Shock U.S.

TAMPA, Fla. – A 2-0 halftime deficit proved too much for the United States Men’s National Team to overcome on Saturday night as they were upset 2-1 by Panama in their second match of CONCACAF Gold Cup group play. The loss was the U.S.’s first ever to Panama and first ever in the CONCACAF Gold Cup group stages.

Luis Tejada gave Panama the lead just under 20 minutes into the match, taping in a rebound. Panama would double the lead 16 minutes later when Gabriel Gomez successfully converted a penalty kick.

The U.S., playing the same line-up that defeated Canada 2-0 on Tuesday, piled on the pressure in the second half and cut Panama’s lead in half in the 68th minute when Clarence Goodson scored on a diving header. That was as close as the U.S. would get, however, as despite some great chances the Americans couldn’t find the back of the net.

Dempsey had the first opportunity for the U.S. in the 8th minute when a U.S. throw-in was weakly headed away. The ball fell to Dempsey, who volleyed a shot just wide of the near post from just inside the box.

Panama took the lead in the 19th minute after a long ball from Felipe Baloy found Gomez who headed a shot on frame that goalkeeper Tim Howard saved, but couldn’t hold on to. Tejada got to the rebound and tapped it in to give Panama a 1-0 lead.

Dempsey threatened to equalize in the 24th minute with a curling shot from about 25 yards, but Jaime Penedo managed to just tip it wide with a diving save.

It was Dempsey again threatening two minutes later, but his header off a Landon Donovan free kick was too weak to beat Penedo.

Another two minutes after that it was Goodson rising above his defender to get a head to a Donovan free kick, but his powerful effort was wide of the net.

Panama double their lead in the 35th minute after referee Marco Rodriguez awarded a penalty when Blas Perez was tripped up Tim Ream while dribbling on the edge of the box. Gomez stepped up to take the penalty and blasted it down the middle over a diving Howard to give Panama a 2-0 lead.

Panama could’ve made it 3-0 in the 42nd minute after a long ball from Gomez was mishandled by Goodson and fell to Tejada, who sent a shot across the face of goal that rolled just wide of the far post.

The U.S. was denied a possible penalty in the 55th minute when Clint Dempsey was surrounded and tripped up while dribbling into the Panamanian box. The U.S. protests were waved off by Rodriguez.

The U.S. pulled one back in the 67th minute when Donovan found Michael Bradley with a free kick. Bradley headed the ball towards the far post where Clarence Goodson sent it past Penedo with a diving header for his third career international goal.

Substitute Chris Wondolowski should’ve equalized for the U.S. in the 81st minute after Jozy Altidore dribbled into the right side of the box to the endline and sent a low pass across goal. Just a few yards from goal with an open net to shoot at, Wondolowski blasted an effort over the bar.

Michael Bradley had another fantastic opportunity to grab a point for the U.S. in the 90th minute after some great combination play by the U.S. in the box. Wondowloski laid the ball off for an onrushing Bradley who blasted a shot towards goal that went just wide of the post.

The U.S. (1-1-0, 3 points) currently sit in second place behind Panama (2-0-0, 6 points) in Group C.  The U.S. wraps up group play on Tuesday in Kansas City, Kan. against Guadeloupe.

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