CHICAGO – Thanks to Brek Shea, the United States mens soccer team(USMNT) didn’t need Jurgen Klinsmann in their Gold Cup final against Panama.
Buoyed by a raucous Solider Field home crowd, the United States won their fifth Gold Cup title—second all-time behind Mexico’s six—by defeating Panama 1-0 on Shea’s goal, scored just seconds after he was subbed into the game. Shea’s goal in the 69th minute put the USMNT up in what had been a very boring and slow game up to that point in the match.
Coming from an Alejandro Bedoya cross on the right side, Landon Donovan swung and missed the ball faking the Panamanian goalkeeper out in the process allowing Shea to pass the ball into an empty net.
Through out the entire Gold Cup teams have sat back and playing almost everyone behind the ball when facing the Americans, the American strikers have found it rather easy to break through these defensive shells so far but the Canaleros defense was the toughest test of the tournament.
This goal showed that the Americans have enough firepower to break through an extremely disciplined and determined defense like Panama’s. There was concern coming into this game because Klinsmann was suspended for one game, after being ejected in the 87th minute of the Gold Cup semi-final against Honduras.
Even though Klinsmann was not on the field the Yanks still seemed very organized in the back and highly motivated. Though, they did seem to lack the confidence to play the last ball or take on a player for a goal scoring opportunity. Most of the game the midfielders and strikers seemed more comfortable just playing the ball back and keeping possession.
Klinsmann’s motivation surly would have helped the attackers find the confidence to try something out of the normal to score.
This Gold Cup win should give a boost of confidence to the USMNT as they continue World Cup Qualifiers in September. The next two games in qualifiers will be a major test as they play Costa Rica and arch-rival Mexico. As the Americans are extremely happy to bring home the Gold Cup, these next two games will truly show how good the USMNT is.