The Gold Cup 2013 Final, featuring USA vs Panama, will take place on Sunday, July 28 2013 (1:00 PM Pacific) at the Soldier Field in Chicago. Both teams have separated themselves from the pack and are clearly the two best teams in the tournament. Nonetheless, the USA has been outstanding, and is certainly the favorite to win the Gold Cup 2013 Final.
The USA has basically swept aside every single team it has faced in the Gold Cup: 5 opponents, 5 wins. A total of 19 goals scored (yes, nineteen in five games!), for only 4 allowed. Two USMNT players have scored 5 goals each, Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski. Simply put, Klinsmann’s team has been unbeatable, a goal-scoring machine that shows no signs of slowing down.
In my opinion, the key to the American success is due to the great job the USMNT has done at controlling the ball. According to ESPN, the USMNT had 55% possession against Honduras, 70% against El Salvador, 63% against Costa Rica, 76% against Cuba and 73% against Belize. Amazing.
Players like Corona, Torres, Beckerman, and to an extent Landon Donovan, have helped the USA achieve these amazing possession statistics. Add this possession to the scoring prowess of talented forwards like Wondolowski, Eddie Johnson and Donovan, and you can see why the USA has been unbeatable.
The USA will attempt a similar strategy against Panama: dominate possession, poke weaknesses in the Panamanian defense, and hope to score. Although Panama will relinquish the ball, (expect USA possession in the 55%-60% range), they will not go down easily. Panama is, after all, the team that eliminated Mexico.
Panama is also undefeated, the only “blemish” on their record being a 0-0 tie against Canada. The Canaleros have also accomplished one of the rarest feats in CONCACAF soccer: defeat Mexico.. twice… in a two week period. Both times by a score of 2-1.
In the two matches against Mexico, Panama demonstrated that it knows how to defend well and counterattack with extreme effectiveness. In the quarterfinal match against Cuba, Panama showed that it also has a powerful offense. The USA defenders must keep an eye out for Gabriel Torres, who has scored 5 goals, and Blas Perez, who has scored 3.
USA vs Panama Prediction
The USA vs Panama match should prove to be a much closer encounter than what we could have expected from a USA vs Mexico Final. Panama has been the second best team in this competition (after the USA, of course) and absolutely deserves a shot at the title.
Look for Panama to fall back and counterattack, while the USA plays its usual possession-heavy style with probing attacks. The USMNT will surely score a couple of goals (they have scored 19 in 5 matches), and are very likely to concede once; the USMNT defense has been the only (minor) weak point of the team.
The USA vs Panama Gold Cup Final will end in a 2-1 victory for the USMNT, which will culminate an almost perfect summer for Klinsmann’s team. This Gold Cup 2013 title also awards “half a ticket” for the next Confederations Cup, making this victory even sweeter.
USA vs Panama Television
The USA vs Panama Gold Cup 2013 final match will be televised on Fox and Univision this Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 1:00 PM Pacific.
USA vs Panama Gold Cup Final Highlights
The USA vs Panama highlights and a complete analysis of the Final will be updated as soon as the match ends.