DAVID SMITH - Sunday, June 12, 2011
The USA suffered one of the most shocking upsets in the history of the program, giving up two first-half goals en route to a humiliating and deserved Group C loss to Panama in Tampa, Florida.

The loss put an end to what was a previously-undefeated record for the US both in Gold Cup group stage games and in all-time play against Panama. The team had gone 26 straight without a loss in the tournament's opening phase, and undefeated over eight all-time against the Panamanians, however this all came crashing down on Saturday night.

Apparently pleased with the team that had beaten Canada four days before, head coach Bob Bradley put out the exact same starting eleven as in the previous game, however this time the greatest weaknesses of nearly every player shone glaringly through at some point during the proceedings.

Panama immediately showed they would be no pushovers, creating an early moment of danger inside of four minutes after Luis Henriquez sent in a fine cross from the left side towards the edge of the six-yard box. While Luis Tejada had slipped in behind central defender Tim Ream and should have easily smashed in the opening goal, his first touch was poor, and he inadvertently knocked the ball over the line for a goal kick.

In the 18th minute, Jermaine Jones barely clipped the heel of midfielder Armando Cooper as he lined up for a crack at the US goal from approximately 25 yards out, drawing a yellow card and setting up a free kick to Panama.

Nelson Barahona kicked the ensuing set piece into the wall, however Panama maintained possession, with a header by Cooper off of a Gabriel Gomez cross just seconds later deflected initially to safety by Tim Howard's outstretched hand. The keeper, however, failed to get the ball out of danger, as it dropped directly in front of an open net where Tejada rushed in amongst a crowd of defenders to poke it over the line for the shocking 1-0 lead for the Panamanians.

The goal temporarily jolted the US awake, as they spent the next ten-plus minutes applying pressure in Panama's half of the field and were close on a trio of occasions, however ultimately were left with nothing to show for their work.

Any attempts to pull momentum their way were undone in the 35th minute, as Ream battled Blas Perez for the ball on the right side of the penalty with both players headed on a trajectory towards the sideline.

Ream made an off-balance and ill-advised high kick for the ball across the front of Perez, which entirely missed his target, however as he fell to the ground the momentum his trailing leg knocked the Panamanian off balance, giving Mexican referee Marco Rodríguez no choice but to point to the penalty spot.

Gomez stepped up to the spot for his team and powerfully blasted his shot just left of center and well above the reach of the diving Howard, giving his team a shocking two-goal lead.

This seemed to take the wind out of the Americans for the remainder of the opening half, with a long-range blast from Bradley in injury time which flew just over the crossbar their only real promising moment before the break.

Despite what was clearly a dismal first-half showing by nearly every player on the field, the US head coach waited until the hour mark to change things up, pulling out Jones and the largely ineffective Juan Agudelo in favor of Sacha Kljestan and Alejandro Bedoya.

This nearly paid off five minutes later as Bedoya streaked into the Panama penalty area and appeared to be tripped up by keeper Jaime Penedo Cano for an apparent penalty to the US, however Rodríguez saw things differently and awarded Bedoya a yellow card for what he perceived to be a clear dive.

Any sense of injustice in the American camp was rendered inconsequential shortly after, as Landon Donovan lofted in a free kick from the right side close to the corner, which Bradley slightly redirected with his head towards the back post. Defender Clarence Goodson broke free of his marker and lunged in, powerfully heading the ball into goal, cutting the Panamian lead to 2-1, with just over 20 minutes left top lay.

The US dominated play from that moment onwards, and Chris Wondolowski's 78th-minute insertion into the game in favor of Goodson saw the team shift into full-on attack mode hoping to equalize.

The San Jose forward wasted a prime opportunity three minutes after entering the game when he shockingly skied the ball after Altidore had set him up for what should have been an easy four-yard tap-in.

Bradley then was inches away from tying at the end of regulation when a one-two combination between Bedoya and Wondowlowski set the table for the Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder, which he blasted just wide right of the target.

Donovan had one last chance late in injury time when the ball bounced to him on the left side of goal, however the angle was too acute and he was unable to put it on-frame.

The loss drops the US to second place in Group C, now even on points with Canada but ahead by goal differential.

The team will have just three days to regroup and try to correct the game's avalanche of failings before they face Guadeloupe in Kansas City on Tuesday. A win will guarantee passage to the quarterfinals.
Tuesday June 14, 2011 3:59 pm
Im not sure what is worse..the match, or some of these ignorant comments below?! Ok...the match was worse. But seriously, unless the USSF decides to cut the politics and get it's head out of it's butt, the US will never be a soccer power in the world. Why isn't Klinsmann our gaffer? The fed wouldn't give him what he wanted. What the heck do they know?! Until Sunil and all those cats over at the USSF give up their ways and decide they will do whatever it takes to become a power in the sport we will continue to see games like this. It blows my mind that the USA has the greatest athletes in the world but we continue to be sub-par in this sport. Blame it on our ODP system, or the unpopularity of the sport, etc. etc. I have heard many people say it starts at the lower levels, I disagree. The USSF needs to be re-vamped, period. We will never see our country even come close to winning a WC until the USSF gives up it's ways and decides to do what ever it takes to become a power in the soccer world.
Tuesday June 14, 2011 3:32 pm
On a side note: Bob Wagman of thinks that Bedoya dove, and that he was untouched by the challenge of the Panamanian 'keeper Pinedo. Maybe we should all write him a note explaining that as even the Telefutura broadcasters felt it had to be a penalty, that he and the referee were the only ones to think that Bedoya was simulating. I offered to make an appointment for Wagman and the Mexican ref at LensCrafters.
Tuesday June 14, 2011 11:59 am
Panama got a lucky bounce and a lucky pk call !!!! lol Panama play better than USA thats why our team lost no excuses , i dont know where you coach but i think you watch another game ,we need new coach we have good players but not the right coach this is another waisted generation with the wrong coach be real.
Mark WNY
Monday June 13, 2011 8:07 pm
You have to give credit to Panama for playing harder and wanting it more than Team USA. Panama got a lucky bounce and a lucky pk call and they defended the lead. The trio of American attackers did not do much, but I found incredible is attitude of Jermaine Jones. When he go sub, he took off his shirt and threw it at the bench when he left the the field. I played soccer and I know that no player wants to come out, but the team needed offense - and that was the right move. I coached at the youth level and if one of my player ever does that - he will never be in the field again. I know he was not born in the USA - but you have to respect your team and play smart.
Monday June 13, 2011 3:32 pm
So...against Spain (World Cup champs and Champions League...champions), we field Klejstan, Rogers, Bedoya, and Lichaj, but against Panama he starts Bocanegra on the left flank?! Bornstein and Lichaj offer much more on the left side. Bocanegra is an anchor, not a defensive wing. And i'm glad i'm not the only one who calls for Jason Kries...hell yea
Monday June 13, 2011 3:18 pm
@Mike Dan Flynn is a CEO/Secretary General of USSF.

@MuchAdu I agree with you about Adu and I understand that he had his ego problems in the past but I think he has grown up and improved with his current club. But to determine that Bob is correct in not naming him to game line up at all don't hold any water when he keep putting Michael and Jonathan in the matches while shunning Edu and Adu!!!
much adu
Monday June 13, 2011 12:35 pm
If the USMT Coaching staff could be more creative that could really help this team. What about a 3-5-2, with Jones, Edu and Bradley starting in the center of the midfield. Let Donovan and Adu play the wings and Demps play up top with either Altidore or Agudelo. On defense play Boca in the middle with Spector and Cherundolo alongside him. Edu can play a defensive role as a CM and Bradley and Jones could move up field when they had opportunities. Dempsey should be playing as a forward, thats really his strength. We need to adapt or continue putting out sub par efforts. Put the best players on the field and keep mediocre MLS players out of the mix until they get more experience on the national level. Bradley may not have the ability to make these changes and if so a change should really be made. Don't forget a lot of our core players beat Spain last year on a neutral ground in a serious tournament, then lead the other world champion Brasil deep into a serious final. We have the players and great potential, we just need to use them wisely.
Monday June 13, 2011 12:22 pm
Horrific. Just horrific. Don't even know where to start, but my favorite, forgetting what I thought was an own-goal (I was watching the no commentary, poor quality replay on CONCACAF TV, and that's what it looked like) and the stupidest penalty I've seen in years (fall down on top of a guy who's not even facing goal and is all alone in the attack), was the Wondowlowski miss. Not only did he sky the tap in, but he stepped on Dempsey's feet doing it. Dempsey would have scored that. Pathetic, horrific. I'm taking my 11 year old daughter to the final, and she's crazy about soccer and was so excited, but after the Panama game, I'm wondering if we'll be watching Mexico-Jamaica instead of Dempsey and Donovan in her first full international.
B Potter
Monday June 13, 2011 12:18 pm
Jermaine Jones is a joke. No wonder Germany did not want him. Edu should be pissed. He is much more talented and does not play with an inflated sense of self worth! Our captain is slow and the best defense he has played in 2 years had to be the pick he threw in the last match. We have a poor defense, a overrated midfield, even with Dempsey playing out of position, and no finisher. Mexico scares me to death.
Monday June 13, 2011 9:29 am
I cannot take another game with BB in his stupid sweat pants and that lame clueless look on his face. I loath BB as a manager. I don't care who you hire as long as he wears a shirt and tie. Jason Kreis?
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