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USA Falls To Panama in Disappointing Fashion

The US men’s national team lost to Panama last night 2-1, in their second match of the group stage of the 2011 Gold Cup. It was the first time EVER, that the United States had lost in a group stage match at the Gold Cup, and what makes it even worse, is that this USA Gold Cup squad is one of the strongest squads we’ve had in recent Gold Cup tournaments.



Now you may be asking yourself, who is to blame? Of course many people point to head coach Bob Bradley and blame him, and rightly they should, because some of his choices concerning the first team starters have been very questionable. But you have to blame some of the players as well, for underperforming, and also just being outworked. I watched a Panama team last night hustle for 90 minutes and leave everything they had on the field. Meanwhile, I saw a USA team give it their all only for the last twenty minutes of the game, when they were already down 2-0. But by then, it was a little too late.



The team started out very slow, and the defense was suspect at many times over the match. The first goal was kind of a fluke, and should have been cleared by the defense. Then, Tim Ream gave up a silly penalty to give Panama their second goal, and his challenge never should have taken place to begin with. Now I’m sure Ream will be a solid defender for the USA in years to come, but in these past two games I just don’t think he’s cutting it. Bob Bradley said changes will be made for the next game against Guadeloupe, and I would be surprised to see Ream in the starting line-up again.

 

Clarence Goodson wasn’t very spectacular either, but he did score a goal which kind of gets him off the hook. However, the Panamanian attack seemed too much to handle for Goodson at times, and he might not start the next game either. 



As far as the attack goes, Juan Agudelo hasn’t done anything in two games, and Jozy Altidore was nowhere to be found last night. Chris Wondolowski came in as a second half sub, but he missed a sitter on an Altidore cross that left me almost crying. That would have atleast salvaged a draw from a poor game by the US, but instead we took the loss.

Image: U.S. vs Panama
(Photo: Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images)

 

With that said, there needs to be more consistency with the US national team. How can we go from tying great teams like England, Argentina, and making it to the knock-out stages of the World Cup, to losing to sides like Panama. The consistency starts with coaching, and if this tournament becomes a disaster for the US, there could be a change coming soon.



Don’t be surprised to see a lot of changes to the starting line-up against Guadeloupe. I’d like to see Freddy Adu make an appearance, and he just might in the next game. The USA attack lacks creativity, so just bringing in a fresh face into the forward half of the field may help. Also, Bob Bradley’s decision to bring only three strikers could come back to haunt him, because Agudelo and Wondolowski aren’t getting it done. Charlie Davies could have been the solution, but Bradley settled for Robbie Rogers instead. Rogers hasn’t even made the bench in the first two games.



Hopefully the USA can bounce back in their last group stage game, and set things right before heading into the quarterfinals. Even if they win the next game against Guadeloupe (which isn’t a given after last night), they still might not win their group, which means they’ll have to play the group winner from either Group A or B. A match-up against either Mexico, Costa Rica, or Jamaica will be a tough task to handle, and an exit in the quarterfinals would be devastating for the US soccer team.

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