BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, July 29, 2013
The United States national team has won the Gold Cup for the first time since 2007 after defeating Panama at Chicago's Soldier Field.
The U.S was playing in its fifth straight Gold Cup final and with Jurgen Klinsmann service his suspension, the team was coached by Martin Vasquez and Andreas Herzog.
Panama began the game with a very defensive mindset and the team has conceded just three goals in the tournament. In addition, Panama entered the game having defeated Mexico twice including in the semifinals.
With the U.S team struggling to breakdown the Panamania defense, it suffered a setback in the 18th minute when Stuart Holden suffered a knee injury and was forced to be subbed out of the game. In his place, Mix Diskerud took his place.
For the rest of the half, the U.S team dominated the possession game but had little to show for it by way of opportunities.
In the second half, the U.S team picked up the pace and began to put Panama's defense on its heels.
In the 68th minute, the U.S coaching staff substituted Break Shea into the game for Joe Corona and immediately made an impact scoring the game's only goal.
On the play, Alejandro Bedoya hit a low driving cross that was intended for Landon Donovan. Donovan miss-hit the kick but it appeared to still be rolling into the net. Shea was there, however, to erase all doubt and slam it into the net.
In the 84th minute the U.S nearly had a second when Shea hit a cross that Eddie Johnson chipped over the goal from a few feet away.
For the U.S team it was its first Gold Cup victory since 2007 when it defeated Mexico 2-1 in the final.
As a result of winning the tournament, the U.S team will play the winner of the 2015 Gold Cup (if it is not the U.S) for a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup.