Bradley, Dempsey lead U.S. past Panama

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

by DENY GALLAGHER
Staff Writer

After falling to Chile in their first game of 2015, the United States bounced back with a resounding 2-0 victory over Panama.

A highlight reel Olimpico from Michael Bradley and a brilliant piece of footwork by Clint Dempsey put the match out of reach, breaking the USMNT’s winless streak.

The friendly provided an opportunity for Klinsmann to evaluate players who could play a role in the Gold Cup this summer.  The game featured young starlets Gyasi Zardes and Miguel Ibarra earning their first international starts. It wasn’t all good news the USMNT on the afternoon, as DeAndre Yedlin left the game just before 70th minute.

The game got off to a slow start as the United States and Panama both struggled to gain hold of the match. As the teams continued to feel each other out, chemistry was clearly a problem as players on both sides missed easy passes.

In the 15th minute, the U.S. began to find their footing in the game as Zardes was brought down just outside the box.   In the 24th minute, Panama had their first opportunity of the afternoon when they were sprung in on searching ball, but Brek Shea came up huge to deny them the opportunity.

After a few opportunities, the United States was able to convert. In the 27th minute, the stars and stripes were awarded a corner. Michael Bradley stepped up and delivered the in-swinger. With Jozy Alitidore running onto the far post, the striker almost made contact, but the ball curves into the upper far post to give the United States a 1-0 lead. The goal was Bradley’s 13th international goal.

The defense for the US kept fans on the edge of their seat with dangerous clearances and passes. On this afternoon, the US was not punished for being sloppy in the back as a woeful clearance found the feet of Zardes just right of the center circle. The LA Galaxy forward, found an on-running Dempsey who was even with the second to last defender. Dempsey used a combination of speed and strength to shake off the defense and get the ball in behind the back line. After sidestepping the keeper, Dempsey converted the opportunity while falling to the ground to make it 2-0 in favor of the home team after 36 minutes of play.

Panama’s best chance to draw within one goal came three minutes later courtesy of a defensive miscue. It began when Jermaine Jomes played a goal kick back to Nick Rimando who played it Matt Besler. However, Besler slipped on the play giving FC Dallas forward Blas Perez a one on one with Nick Rimando. The opportunity was squandered as Perez booted it high and wide.

The United States would go into the half up 2-0 on their CONCACAF foe.

The second half saw a few changes including World Cup scapegoat Chris Wondolowski coming on for Jozy Altidore. However, the most concerning event came just before the 70th minute when DeAndre Yedlin limped off the field after a hard tackle. This cleared the way for Perry Ktichen and Matt Hedges to earn their first career caps. Yedlin would not return, and his status is unknown.

Gyasi Zardes impressed on the afternoon, showing off his speed and technical ability. Minnesota United’s Miguel Ibarra also showed flashes of promise down the flank, as was able to create chances from the left wing.

Sunday marked the first United States victory since the squad bested Czech Republic 1-0 in Prague on September 3rd.

The United States will next head to Denmark on March 28th to face the Danish in Århus.

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Panama
Date: Feb. 8, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: StubHub Center; Carson, California
Kickoff: 1 p.m. PT
Attendance: 20,271
Weather: 72 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        2 0 2
PAN                        0 0 0

USA – Michael Bradley                         27th minute
USA – Clint Dempsey (Gyasi Zardes)     37

Lineups:
USA: 1-Nick Rimando (12-Sean Johnson, 46); 2-DeAndre Yedlin (3-Matt Hedges, 72), 13-Jermaine Jones, 5-Matt Besler, 11-Brek Shea; 4-Michael Bradley, 10-Mix Diskerud (15-Perry Kitchen, 72); 20-Gyasi Zardes, 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.) (14-Luis Gil, 81), 19-Miguel Ibarra (7-Lee Nguyen, 79); 17-Jozy Altidore (18-Chris Wondolowski, 46)
Subs Not Used : 6-Wil Trapp, 16-Shane O’Neill, 21-Dillon Serna
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

PAN: 1-Jaime Penedo (capt.); 2-Leonel Parris, 5-Fidel Escobar (23-Chin Hormechea, 46), 3-Harold Cummings, 17-Luis Ovalle (11-Hécgar Murillo, 46); 8-Marcos Sánchez (16-Yairo Glaize Yau, 46), 13-Alfredo Stephens (22-Ismael Díaz, 55), 20-Aníbal Godoy, 15-Éric Davis; 7-Blas Pérez (21-Ricardo Buitrago, 56), 9-Rolando Blackburn (4-Luis Pereira, 63)
Subs Not Used: 6-Michael Amir Murillo, 10-Gabriel Torres, 12-José Calderón, 19-Jhamal Rodríguez
Head Coach: Hernan Dario Gomez

Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots: 6 / 5
Shots on Goal: 5 / 2
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 5
Fouls: 23 / 15
Offside: 0 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Michael Bradley (caution)       38th minute
PAN – Luis Ovalle (caution)              40
PAN – Anibal Godoy (caution)           59
USA – Chris Wondolowski (caution)   65

Officials:
Referee: Henry Bejarano (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Warner Castro (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Ramirez (HON)
Fourth Official: Oscar Moncada (HON)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Michael Bradley