U.S. Finishes Fourth at 2015 Gold Cup After Panama Loss

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

by Deny Gallagher
USMNT Staff Writer

It was an unceremonious end to what had the potential to be a defining tournament for the United States Men’s National Team, as the Stars and Stripes fell 3-2 on penalties to Panama in the third place match.

The lone goal for the Americans came courtesy of Clint Dempsey, who finishes the tournament in poll position for the Golden Boot with seven goals.

It was a match that neither team wanted to be in and the product both on the field and in the stands reflected that sentiment in the opening stanza.

The first opportunity for either side came in the 36th minute when Panama’s Armando Cooper put on a dribbling master class that made the United States look nonexistent. Cooper’s strike rolled by Brad Guzan before Tim Ream slid into deflect the ball away from goal. The former Red Bull defender was practically in the back of net in order to keep things scoreless.

From there Panama looked the more threatening side coming inches from going ahead on multiple occasions.

After a dull opening 45 minutes from the United States, the two sides went into the half scoreless.

Panama continued to press and look dangerous coming out of the half. In the 55th minute, a Roberto Nurse step over undid John Brooks and Tim Ream. Nurse finished his one-on-one opportunity with Guzan with ease to put Panama ahead just before the hour mark

Things would change in the 70th minute for the United States when second half sub DeAndre Yedlin got on the end of a ball played over the top. The Tottenham man chested the ball to ground, turned and played a ball to an on-running Clint Dempsey. Deuce converted the uncontested opportunity from 15 yards out to tie things up.

In the 80th minute, Brad Guzan came up huge once more diving to his right to stop a Rolando Blackburn header. The save would fall to the ground, and would roll toward the goal line. With a second effort, Guzan would lunge to claim the ball to keep it at 1-1

The final 10 minutes belonged to Panama as the side created several opportunities to go ahead. However, the side did not make the United States pay for poor defending.

At the end of 90 minutes, there was nothing to separate the two sides, forcing extra time.

In the second half of extra time, it was Panama that continued to extend their shot advantage. Minutes after play resumed, Roberto Nurse beat DeAndre Yedlin and called Guzan into action once again. The Aston Villa man continued his great afternoon by pushing this one out of harms way.

The sides shared the opportunities for the remainder of the extra session, with both sides looking threatening.

At the end of 120 minutes, there was still nothing to separate the sides as the third place match ended in a penalty shoot out.

Aron Johannsson started the shootout by converting his chance. Ramon Torres responded by leveling things up. The sides both finished their chances in the second to remain tied.

From that point on, United States fans could only cover their eyes as Fabian Johnson booted his into the stands. Luis Mejia would channel his inner Zach Steffen and guess correctly on Michael Bradley’s penalty. Omar Cummings would beat Guzan to put Panama up 3-2.

In what may just be his final match for the United States, DaMarcus Beasley was given the task of keeping his sides hopes alive in this one. However, it was Mejia who would be the hero on the afternoon as the keeper guessed correctly once again to deny Beasley to end the match and potentially his international career.

The United States fourth place finish is their worst finish at the tournament since the Stars and Stripes finished fifth at the 2000 Gold Cup.

  • Anonymous

    Downright pathetic.

  • Buzz kill

    Nice job USMNT by pissing on the vibe created by the USWNT! This proves everything right about our women and everything lacking in our men.

    Jill 1:0 over Jürgen.

  • Another freak result my friends? I think not but you Americans keep deluding yourselves on the level of soccer in a country of 300 million people. Everything is mediocre from your youth structure to college to MLS to usmnt. But somehow in your own minds you continue to perpetuate the myth of climbing towards the elite. Sorry Sam,you haven’t gotten very far and are in fact on men’s level moving backwards

    • slowleftarm

      The one Jamaican soccer fan talking big because of a fluke result. Enjoy it because you aren’t even getting to the Hex with the WC qualifying group you got yesterday! Meanwhile the USMNT will qualify for their eighth straight WC with ease.

      • Anonymous

        Usmnt thought they were going win the gold cup with ease but look at that result. Anything can happen im not saying there not going to make the wc but hey you never know

  • Any team that has to play Beasley at this level has MAJOR issues. Doesn’t engender much confidence going forward. Let’s be real…we are not very good. Not tragic,but hardly playing creative,intelligent,stylish footie. Sad in a lot of ways actually.