It was more like a game to forget. The USMNT lost to Panama 3-2 in penalty kicks in the third place game of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. This was a game that Jurgen Klinsmann yesterday wanted to finish on a high note and “owing it to the fans” to play well and win, did anything but do that.
In all actuality, the third place game doesn’t really mean that much to fans. Yeah the majority of the 12,598 in attendance cared about how the USMNT performed and the players cared (or should’ve cared) about the third place game. But really, it didn’t much matter to most.
That clearly showed as the USMNT were very sloppy at first when it came to connecting passes and trying to get a rhythm going. Most players also seemed to struggle with their first touch. As a result, the USMNT were outshot 24 to 8 with 13 to 2 when it came to shots on goal to Panama. My eyes don’t lie and the stats don’t lie, this was a terrible performance, regardless of the circumstances.
The game will be remembered for likely being the final international game for DaMarcus Beasley. Beasley was subbed on once extra time started and played the final half hour. On one occasion, he nutmegged a Panama player and on another, he ran through the Panama squad that looked like he had transformed into Diego Maradona. As he was going to go into the box, he got taken down but for some reason was called for the foul. Beasley would wind up getting his penalty saved to end the game and seal the win for Panama.
Yeah, out of the USMNT, Panama and the referees, it looked like the referees mailed it in the most. On one such occasion, no Panama player was given a yellow for preventing Michael Bradley from taking a free kick. A Panama player even ran up to block the kick and the referee did nothing. He didn’t give a card, he didn’t even stop play to retake the kick. That’s how much the referees cared, particularly in light of what happened this morning.
So, the USMNT can finally put this nightmare of a tournament behind them. Next is the Confederations Cup playoff in October at a yet to be determined location. In the post game press conference, Klinsmann said that the Confederations Cup playoff roster won’t be that much different than the Gold Cup roster. So now for the next three months, the USMNT will have to figure out what caused them to lose these previous two games and fans are going to have to hope that things will be different.