US 2-1 Panama - US dominates but has holes - Player grades
I've never seen a team dominate so much but look so scared in the process. Once they went up by two and Panama lost a player due to red card, most of the squad, much like a large part of the audience, seemed to tune out. They failed to clear balls and made amazingly poor passes that allowed Panama to sneak back into it.
The US got the win, but in doing so revealed again their problems with finishing and the connecting passes. Panama is the best team the Nats has face so far in the Gold Cup and they should be a little concerned about how the played. The defense had their moments but seemed very disorganized. Panama's goal was a keystone cops moment in the backfield.
The good news is the US is getting better at breaking down teams that try to play in a bunker against them.
US: Landon Donovan (2) pk 59', Carlos Bocanegra (1) 63'
Panama: Blas Perez (3) 84'
Here are the player grades:
Tim Howard (GK) - Made a couple big saves but needs to do more to direct the backline. There was nothing he could do to stop that goal. A-
Jonathan Bornstein (D) - He was working hard in the corner and picked some pockets but also allowed a few too many balls to slip in. B-
Carlos Bocanegra (D) - He got a goal but on defense he was caught out of position a number of times and didn't clear that well. B-
Oguchi Onyewu (D) - The Gooch did a lot in this match and managed to find just the right touch to prevent fouls from going against him. He still got a yellow, but it was a bad call. He was the only part of the defense that didn't seem to shutdown in the final 15-minutes. A-
Frankie Hejduk (D) - Bob Bradley wanted him to push forward and he did just that. Lots of long runs that added pressure but his work on defense was soft overall and towards the end he kept giving the ball away. B
Michael Bradley (M) - He works well with the rest of the midfield but his passing was sour. C+
Pablo Mastroeni (M) - He spring a number of balls but didn't take a lot away from Panama. B
DaMarcus Beasley (M) - Another good game out of Beasley. He was pushing down the side and trying to set people up. Also, great work on dead balls. A
Landon Donovan (M) - Landon was the spark for the team by doing both the big and little things. He still doesn't have a killer look at goal but it is getting closer. A
Taylor Twellman (F) - He had a number of chances and could not finish them. Yes, the 'almosts' are getting closer but if he's not scoring... C
Clint Dempsey (F) - The was not his finest game but he still made some good moves to push the ball into position. Also, he is one of the main reasons Panama was screaming at the ref in frustration as he kept finding little pockets. A
Steve Ralston (M) - On for Twellman in the 71st. I don't think it was his fault but once Ralston came on, the middle stopped winning balls and the tide began to change. He didn't have many chances to move the ball up and caused some confusion in front of his own box. B-
Brian Ching (F) - On for Dempsey in the 84th. Not on for long, but did try to push forward. B
Ricardo Clark (M) - On for Donovan in the 89th. Again, not really on long enough to make a mark but did win a couple balls in his five minutes. Gentleman’s B
Next up for the US is Canada in the semifinal this Thursday at Soldier Field in Chicago (tickets).
4 - Carlos Pavón - Honduras
3 - Carlos Costly - Honduras
3 - Walter Centeno - Costa Rica
3 - Ali Gerba - Canada
3 - Blas Pérez - Panama
2 - Julián de Guzmán - Canada
2 - Dwayne De Rosario - Canada
2 - Reynier Alcántara - Cuba
2 - José Luis Garcés - Panama
2 - Landon Donovan - USA
2 - DaMarcus Beasley - USA
2 - Amado Guevara - Honduras