Sunday, July 19, 2009
The United States rallied to defeat Panama in overtime to advance to the semifinals of the Gold Cup on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Head coach Bob Bradley opted to give the starting nod to forwards Brian Ching and Davy Arnaud, who was then replaced by Kenny Cooper in the 77th minute.

The midfield was anchored by Haiti hero Stuart Holden, Kyle Beckerman, Logan Pause and Robbie Rogers who gave way to Brad Evans in the 110th minute.

The backline started with Jay Heaps, Chad Marshall, Jimmy Conrad and Heath Pearce while Troy Perkins got the nod as goalkeeper over Luis Robles.

Conrad's night ended prematurely right before halftime when a collision with a Panamanian player forced the team captain to the sidelines leaving Clarence Goodson to hurriedly enter the game.

It was moments after the IK Start man's entrance when Panama struck first, as Blas Perez gathered a loose ball which had deflected off of Holden from a corner, and fired the ball into the roof of the net.

Coach Bradley's squad was forced to play catch up at the start of the second half but soon found the equalizer in the 49th minute courtesy of Beckerman, who notched his first career international goal.

Rogers had lofted a pass to Arnaud towards the Panamanian back post. The KC Wizard then played it back into the area for Beckerman who rocketed a shot into the upper right corner of the net.

The two teams were still deadlocked after 90 minutes forcing the extra time, which saw the US take control of the match.

The gamewinner came in the 105th when Holden once again served as the play maker sending a pass into the box Cooper. As the Hoops attacker wound up to shoot, he was the victim of a flying karate kick by Panamanian defender Roman Torres, for which the referee signaled a clear penalty.

The foul earned Torres a yellow card and awarded the FC Dallas man a penalty kick who then curled his effort just inside the left post for the deciding goal. The game ended in chaos with two Panamanians attacking the refereeing crew. Mexican referee Benito Archundia issued two red cards after the match, to Panamanians Torres and Felipe Baloy

The Stars and Stripes will now take on Honduras in the semifinals on Thursday night at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Tuesday July 21, 2009 1:16 am
I readily submit that it's possible Cooper wasn't given a sufficient shot to get into the flow of the game, and that I haven't seen enough of the guy to pass any reasonable judgment.

Given the above disclaimers, what I saw was a bit of a klutz who can't turn well (critical for a target forward), hold well, or use his formidable size well.

But hey, what the hell do I know...
Monday July 20, 2009 6:20 pm
To pair Cooper with Ching was a poor decision. Despite his size, Cooper does not play as a target forward, yet he is still a big body. It's like trying to have two tanks operate on a one way one lane street. They just get in each others way more than anything. Cooper has had his best games when paired with Davies, where Davies was giving him service from out wide, and with Jozy where Altidore played as the target man.

With the pool we have for the next two games, if Cooper does play, it needs to be with Arnaud, or Holden. Personally, I'd like to see Cooper play as a single striker but with both Holden and Arnaud playing as AMCs. I have a feeling that we could penetrate that Honduras back line with ease in such a formation.
Monday July 20, 2009 4:16 pm
I really hope Bradley starts Altidore, R. Clark now that Charlie Davies has left, because I don't see this team right now doing well from here on out, Lets win this Cup, lets not throw it away.
Monday July 20, 2009 1:23 pm
Holden is a stud. VERY confident on the ball and sees the field well. Hope to see him in the EPL soon.
Monday July 20, 2009 12:44 pm
Agree with Charlie. Arnaud and Cooper should see time together. While I realize that Cooper may not be international quality as a target forward, at least he can be a dangerous shooter. Ching is a wet blanket on any kind of agressiveness; while people sight he provides little flicks, whenever he is counted on to be the striker, he fails invariably. He had some shots, but couldn't finish.

And yet he is undoubtedly going to start for Bob Bradley, even though our greatest success was a direct result of him not being available.

As for Holden, he's definetly on the plane. Quaranta should also get some more playing time, as I think he's earned it.
Monday July 20, 2009 10:33 am
I was thinking the same thing Matt
Monday July 20, 2009 12:49 am
'Coach Bradley's squad was forced to play catch up the entire second half and finally was able to equalize in the 49th minute'.

Um, me thinks they were only playing 'catch up' for about 4 minutes of the second half...
Sunday July 19, 2009 11:44 pm
Enjoyed watching to see if they could pull this off. It certainly exposes the players as there are fewer on the field that "make everyone better" its different that inserting one or two of these players in with the full team. That being said, Holden is definately the highlight of the tournament for the US. Rogers also looked good as did Marshall, with Goodson putting in some good time as well. I like Beckerman's energy, although it can lead to some ill timed passes and challanges, I just can't figure how he would get much time with the full team.

Like Arnaud with Ching up top, and think it was a step in the wrong direction to bring in Cooper to pair with have two "target" type guys doesn't work so well. I don't really think Cooper is that effective in the system - he seems to accelerate very slowly and for his size, is not particularly good in exploiting it to his advantage. Let's give him a real shot and pair him up with Arnaud.
Sunday July 19, 2009 7:17 pm
Holden has a UK passport (born in Aberdeen), so no problem there.
Sunday July 19, 2009 6:48 pm
Holden is pure class. I know several of you have seen him play before, but I have never watched him play. He is so confident on the ball and his decision making is better than almost any US midfielder I have every watched. He's a tough little son-of-a-gun as well. He takes his hits without any theatrics.

If he isn't picked up by a European squad within the next 6 months, I will be shocked. The only limitation on this might be Visa related issues.

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