It proved a protracted, frustrating and ultimately meaningless indignity for U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his players to complete this miserable week.
Wednesday’s semifinals loss was marred by incredible scenes towards the end of normal time, when play was held up for 10 minutes as Panama’s players protested the penalty decision against them. The 10-men Panama team carried a one-goal lead into the 89th minute before a controversial penalty call in the box gave Mexico a miracle equalizer.
“They have to go through this pain”, Klinsmann said of his players. They played with a lot of skill and are playing well going into World Cup qualifying.
“We’ve just put one of the big boys out, so it just shows that we can hang with the best right now”, said Jamaican striker Giles Barnes. Guzan followed with a save to get the Americans even again, but Michael Bradley had his penalty saved and from there, the U.S. were on the back foot.
This time around, he’s not going to make any such proclamations, and he acknowledged Saturday’s ending would be a tough way to go out. But it dominated play against a sluggish U.S. team, with 13 shots on goal to the Americans’ two.
“It disgraces the tournament,” Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez said.
Klinsmann specifically defended two young players, center backs John Brooks and Ventura Alvarado. The game finished 1-1 after extra time, and it was another match to forget.
Despite the U.S.’ apathetic first half performance, Klinsmann didn’t make any changes at halftime. With the Americans instead trailing and scuffling, Klinsmann used DeAndre Yedlin and Dempsey as subs in the 60th minute, and they combined for the tying goal. The victor will face the U.S., the 2013 Gold Cup champ, in a playoff October 9 for CONCACAF’s spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup.
In the end, the United States men’s national team wasn’t even good enough to win a Gold Cup bronze medal.
Nevertheless, El Tri will be favoured to beat Jamaica and stretch their record trophy total to seven as well as take a third crown in the past four Cups contested. Then Mejia clinched the shootout and the third-place finish by stopping Beasley’s attempt. He will likely win the Golden Boot, although Mexico winger Andres Guardado is within striking distance with five goals heading into Sunday’s final against Jamaica.
And yet within a matter of days at the CONCACAF Gold Cup from July 7-26, he has doubled his total career appearances for the Reggae Boyz.
– Cummings scores for Panama.
The US and Panama both started many reserves, as red cards in this match would be carried over into their next official CONCACAF match. Tim Ream dived to save the ball from entering the net behind American goalkeeper Brad Guzan, and Panama became increasingly frustrated with their chances. 2-2 still tied.
From that point on, United States fans could only cover their eyes as Fabian Johnson booted his into the stands.
Without first-choice goalkeeper Jaime Peneda and top-scorer Luis Tejada, who were both suspended for their part in the ugly scenes that marred their semi-final, Panama were expected to struggle at a sweltering PPL Park in Philadelphia.
Panama had the first opportunity in the 12th minute when Guzan was nearly fooled by a bad hop from a right-sided free kick, but he managed to grab the ball. We’re tied 2-2 now.