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.
Monday June 13, 2011 7:34 am
Very sad indeed. There are many talented players in the US but yet we continue with the old guard. BB has done what he can with the team its time to move up as far as coach and senior leadership goes. Too many of the current players know BB will pick them again & again so no longer have the drive needed. Yes Concacaf has improved but no team outside Mexico has the potential player pool US has. We need to bring in a new coach who has total control over the team, and a new head of US soccer that will let the coach have that freedom. Listening to Suni the other day was like listening to a politician running for office. Stop the politics and do whats right for the game!!!!
Monday June 13, 2011 1:57 am
Beyond the inexperience/ineptitude of Ream and Agudelo, it is the movement off the ball, or lack thereof that is really killing the US lately. The number of times that four or five US players were standing within three yards of each other in the center of the field while the ball was played aimlessly around the back-line, stifled creativity and simply represents a lack of a unified strategy. Or gross laziness. I say insert Spector for Ream or slide Boca into the center and shift Dempsey up top alongside Altidore and put Bedoya on the right. Stuart Holden we need you!
Monday June 13, 2011 1:56 am
As long as Bob Bradley keeps starting Michael instead of Maurice Edu, we should expect results like this. But Freddie Adu will never be the answer. He plays too soft, holds the ball too long and cries when he loses it. The best thing would be for Guadaloupe to beat us so that we crash out in the group stage. Then maybe Bradley would get sacked and we could get Jurgen Klinnsman or Jason Kriese as the USMNT head coach.
Sunday June 12, 2011 11:55 pm
As a USMT fan, Im excited about the loss! It finally exposes without a shadow of a doubt, what I have been ranting about for awhile now. First of all, it was a flat out bad decision to give so much faith in Ream and Goodson in the middle. They have not earned it and this is not a game to "get some experiance" in. Its the most important and only tourny this year. With Spector and Onyewu on the team one of them at least should have started. More importantly, good teams all have an offensive catalyst to play good service to forwards and attacking mids. Bradley, Donovan and Dempsey ARE NOT the playmaker we need. I still believe Jones can do this to some extent but he is adjusting to the type of game we play. To bring Freddy Adu up to this team and not suit him up is stupid and insulting to Adu as a player. He is obviously a playmaker type ,but needed time with our A team to gel and get chemistry with the other starters. For the last time, He needs to play opposite Donovan on the wing. Then move Demps up top with either Altidore or preferably Agudelo. Really it should be Davies and Agudelo with Demps playing underneath them. Bradley's unwavering decision to keep running the same ineffective offense is destroying this team. A player like adu makes everyone else better because with his dribbling he is disruptive, drawing defenses to him and then playing quality passes, drawing fouls or scoring. Put him in coach he can make a difference, but with no time recently to gel with the team dont expect him to be the savior of the USMT.
Sunday June 12, 2011 8:31 pm
It's getting to the point where I almost pray for these types of results in order to get enough people fired up to dismantle the top of the US Soccer pyramid.

We've played three sub-par matches in a row. No heart; no creativity. If not for an incompetent Canadian goalkeeper last week, we don't go up early, and then who knows what happens? I feel almost as disenchanted as when they offered BB his extension last year.
Sunday June 12, 2011 7:27 pm
wow...this game was a big disappointment! I sure hope BB will get fired after this tournament...Altidore cannot make intelligent runs, Agudelo ha very overrated player, he still needs to mature...Donovan was non existant as always, we have to admit he's not what he used to be...sasha was lame and I cant even begin to wonder why he even made it to the roster. and lastly why in the hell is Ream in the game?! he sucks!! completely out shone throughout the game...I know if the US plays against Mexico right now it would repeat the fate of last world cup
Sunday June 12, 2011 5:31 pm
Sunday June 12, 2011 5:21 pm
I don't know who Dan Flynn is, but I'm glad to have him out of a job if we can lump him in with Bradley and Gulati.

We don't need to recruit players from all over Europe to be a team we can support. We need a better coach and Federation.

I don't know what BB has against Edu. It's disgusting really. It's like Edu is allowed up to one mistake or poor showing [against Spain!] before he's pushed aside, while the likes of M.Bradley, Jones and Clark are allowed several. Edu can attack at least as well as M.Bradley, and he has played more for his club recently than the coach's son has. It's like some youth team bullshit.
We need a coach with a more normal accounting of player quality, so BB's favorites don't get endless starts/minutes while others languish in the wings.
Sunday June 12, 2011 4:25 pm
Do donovan and cherundolo realize that we don't have to cross it in from the right flank on every offensive foray?

Dempsey had some great rips, but his lack of passing makes him very predictable for defenders.

How shocking that Aguedelo's glaring inexperience is stunting the attack. I can't think of any other forwards with international experience who are able to open space for Altidore.

For the Altidore haters out there, he has a goal and an assist, and made a beautiful maneuver into the box that wondolowski should have tapped in for the tie. No other players comes close to matching his contributions offensively.

Bob has only himself to blame for this debacle, and Edu is better than both Jones and Bradley
Hugh McDonough
Sunday June 12, 2011 2:52 pm
USA senior team should hire Mick McCarthy ex Ireland manager, Martin O'Neill ex Aston Villa , Celtic manager
or Klinsmann. USA should recruit English, Italien, Spanish, or French players, Usa should use the 'Granny' rule to recruit new players.
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