The USA vs Panama Gold Cup Final ended with a final score of 1-0 in favor of the USMNT. Panama was by far the toughest opponent the USA faced in this tournament, and the tight scoreline demonstrated that the USMNT struggled to break the defensive scheme of the Canaleros.
The first half was essentially devoid of any scoring opportunities. Although the USA was able to control the ball, it did not create any clear scoring opportunities. The Panamanians were content to give up possession and focus on defending, sending a couple of men forward on the rare counterattacking opportunity.
The first 20 minutes of the second half was more of the same: USA dominating the ball, but not creating scoring opportunities. It wasn’t until a 68th minute assist from Donovan allowed Break Shea to score and break the draw. From then on, Panama was forced to attack and leave some open spaces in its defense, which the Americans took advantage of by creating a couple of scoring opportunities.
Eddie Johnson could have sealed the win and remove all drama from the end of the game had he not missed an open net shot in the 83rd minute, unfortunately, his shot was elevated. Panama attacked with nearly all of its men for the remainder of the game, but were unable to score. The Panamanian attack consisted mainly of lobbing crosses into the box, which were ineffective.
The USA thus culminates its perfect run in the Gold Cup 2013 with a 1-0 win over a Panamanian squad that played well throughout the tournament, and was a worthy opponent in the final. The Gold Cup 2013 title has the added benefit of awarding a playoff match against the winner of the next Gold Cup for a spot in the Confederations Cup.
What are your thoughts on the USA vs Panama Gold Cup 2013 final?