US Men Begin Gold Cup in Torpid Draw With Panama

by on 9 July 2017

As the US Men look forward to the World Cup in Russia next year, they have a smaller trophy on their minds this year. The Gold Cup is a chance for players on the fringes of the national team to make a case for World Cup inclusion, while also adding to the trophy cabinet for the Americans.

On this hunt for another Gold Cup trophy, the Yanks kicked off against Panama in Nashville. They drew the Panamanians 1-1 in a March World Cup Qualifier and that scoreline would be repeated.

Dom Dwyer scored his second goal in his second cap, but Miguel Camargo drew the Panamanians level.

First half

The first half played out with a number of chances for either side, but neither team could break the deadlock.

The Yanks were first to really test the opposition as Kelyn Rowe sent in a long-range shot that went right to Panama’s keeper, José Calderón, in the 5th minute. After the match started with both teams playing quick and adding pressure, the play settled into a routine.

The US tested again when Kellyn Acosta took a short corner, received it back and put in a hard shot in at the goal in the 18th minute.

Rowe would have another chance in the 27th minute when Jorge Villafana passed the ball back for Rowe at the top of the box. Rowe sent in a powerful shot that Calderón did well to save.

Immediately after Rowe’s shot, Panama had its own chance. The ball came to Miguel Camargo on the edge of the box. Graham Zusi, playing at left back, gave the winger too much space and Camargo’s curling shot was tipped wide by Brad Guzan.

With the final touch of the match, Panama’s Ismael Diaz brought down a long cross on the outside of the box, took a touch, and sent the ball just wide of the net.

Second half

It didn’t take long for the Yanks to shake off the slumber of the first half. In the 50th minute Kelyn Rowe put on a bit of a show on the left wing, between two Panamanians. He cut the ball back to Dom Dwyer in the box, who turned on the shot and sent it in to the back post.

Within minutes, Panama had two chances of their own. Brad Guzan was forced to make a point-blank save that couldn’t be tapped in by Panama. Then Diaz sent a ball just wide after finding himself clear on net.

But Panama finally broke through in the 60th minute. Guzan made a superb save that fell to the top of the box where Miguel Camargo found it and drove past three defenders before getting off a shot and drawing Panama level.

After the two teams were even at one goal apiece, the match fizzled into a torpid half hour.

The Yanks move on to face Martinique on Wednesday and Nicaragua on Saturday.

The positives

Dom Dwyer has scored two goals in his first two caps for the US men’s national team. He didn’t get enough time on the ball, but he’s scoring goals.

Kelyn Rowe shone brightly on the left wing. He will have a tough road if he wants to break into the World Cup squad, though.

Panama was the only tough-ish team in the group. The US will have two easier matches ahead and getting their toughest match up first will allow Bruce Arena to adjust before the knockout stages.

The negatives

Just about everything else. There were a lot of poor or at least mediocre performances from the squad. Zusi, Acosta, and Corona in particular struggled.

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