USMNT 1-0 Panama: Gold for USMNT in the Windy City

Close and tight but victory in the end for USMNT

CHICAGO – The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) win the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup with their 1-0 win over Panama in the final. With a Brek Shae goal only seconds after being subbed in the USMNT cap off a great tournament with the trophy.

The first half did not produce many action plays. Panama focused on neutralizing the dangerous USA attack that has produced 19 goals in the five Gold Cup games so far. USMNT dominated possession in the first half 75% - 25% but were not able to break through the Panama defense. But the Panamanians did not just sit in the back and wait for the clock to run out, they did look to break forward with speed when they did have the ball and created one or two chances.

In the 27th minute a long cross field pass to the left side found Quintero who sent in a cross the first post looking for Gabriel Torres who could not have a solid shot on goal. The ball ended up hitting Torres in the most sensitive part of the body and the Panamanian forward went down in pain.

The clearest chance for the USMNT in the first half came in the 42nd minute when Alejandro Bedoya grabbed the ball in the right side of the field and dribbled towards the center looking for space to shot on goal. When he finally shot the ball was blocked by a sliding tackle and sent to a corner kick.

In the second half team USA came out strong pushing Panama deep into their own territory, crosses started to come in but the Central American defense stood up the early on slough and cleared the balls away.

A moment of controversy came in the 50th minute when Landon Donovan dribbled into the box and then sent in a cross; the ball hit the defenders trailing hand and prevented Donovan’s pass from finding a teammate in the center of the box. All USMNT fans, players, and even coach Jurgan Klinsmann jumped up screaming and protesting a penalty call that never came from the center referee who determined the hand ball was not intentional.

The U.S. pressure finally paid off in the 69th minute when Brek Shae pushed in the ball from centimeters outside the line after only having been subbed in seconds prior to that play. Eddie Johnson began the play in the left side dribbling at a defender and sending in a cross. Panama defenders were able to head the ball out, but the USMNT pressure allowed them to regain the ball, Bedoya grabbed the ball right and sent in another cross to where Landon Donovan was unable to hit the ball into the goal. The ball slipped through and seemed it was going to roll into the goal, but Shae came in and smashed the ball into the net from just centimeters out for the 1-0 lead.

In the 83rd minute Eddie Johnson missed the goal that would have sealed the victory. Brek Shae found the end line on the left side and sent in a low cross to where Johnson was waiting inside of the six-yard box. Johnson got his foot to the ball but the ball went straight up into the air and over the crossbar.

The miss would not be too costly for the USMNT as they were able to hold on to the one goal lead and lift the trophy.

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