[USA-PANAMA REPORT CARD] The USA reverted to its old habit of falling behind, and this time couldn’t make up a 2-0 deficit in Gold Cup play Saturday night at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. performances.
Rating Player (Club) GP/G
5 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 61/0
Solid game for the most part, though by not leaving his feet on first Panamanian goal conceded a rebound that wound up in the net. Zinged some excellent throws that put his teammates in good positions.
5 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover/GER) 68/2
Clever header set up Donovan for a chance just outside the penalty area, botched a short corner with Donovan that wasted a set play. Crossing was okay at times, though he also dropped a few of them too short to be dangerous. Most of the time held his corner secure.
4 Clarence Goodson (Broendby/DEN) 11/3
Won most of his duels in the air, but lost out to Luis Tejada when a rebound came off his foot and wound up in the net. Scored with an excellent header in the 68th minute to give the U.S. a chance. Late in the first half lost track of Tejada, who shot just wide from close range. A few minutes later, tracked back to win a ball lofted for Blas Perez.
3 Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls) 6/0
Victimized often by an array of Panamanian attackers who overpowered him, and gave away a penalty back when chased down trying to clear the ball. In the opening minutes lost the mark on Luis Tejada who just failed to put away a ball bent across the goalmouth. Hit a couple of good passes that weren’t exploited by his teammates but also hit blind balls that were easily picked off.
5 Carlos Bocanegra (St. Etienne/FRA) 89/12
Played an okay game defensively as Panama did most of its damage with balls played from midfield, tried to get involved in the attack but rarely did so. Stepped into frays a couple of times when teammates argued with the referee. Tried to work the offside trap on first Panama goal but called for it too late.
4 Jermaine Jones (Blackburn/ENG) 7/0
Put a shot on frame from a partially cleared free kick to mark a decent start that eventually dissipated. Gave away the free kick on first Panama goal with a step-in tackle from behind that clipped Nelson Barahona’s follow-through, and seemed to lose confidence as the match unfolded. Was also cautioned as one of several players to be on the harsh end of curious refereeing decisions.
4 Michael Bradley (Aston Villa/ENG) 55/8
Off the pace for much of the first half, a step slow to break up plays in the middle third though he did clog up things at the top of the penalty area. Set up U.S. goal with glancing header of corner kick that Goodson tucked away. Missed a great chance to equalize in stoppage time after getting into the box to reach a layoff from Chris Wondolowski.
4 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) 132/45
Rather quiet and lackluster with his dribbles, yet hit some good balls on set plays: a great corner kick on which the USA scored, and a cross from midfield that Clint Dempsey nearly headed in for the equalizer during stoppage time. In the first half, he lost a few unforced errors and shot tamely from about 20 yards on a good chance. Squandered an opportunity for a late equalizer when he missed by a mile from just yards away.
4 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG) 73/20
Played some good stuff but despite numerous chances failed to score. Shot just wide in the opening minutes, stung a shot from distance that forced keeper Penedo to leave his feet, nailed a header the keeper turned over the bar. On yet another chance, wide open, he headed weakly. Tried a fancy touch in a bad spot; Panama pushed the ball forward and won its penalty kick.
3 Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) 7/2
Gave an honest effort against bigger, rugged, smarter defenders without much reward. Assertive dribble up the middle opened space for a left-footed shot he hit on frame but weakly. Squelched a promising move when he ran onto a ball on the left wing and lost it going one-v-three.
4 Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor/TUR) 37/11
Served up a great ball that Chris Wondolowski hammered over the bar from sitter range, and tried to work combinations with limited success. He was very slow to close down opponents in the middle third and didn’t win too many physical battles while getting no help from the referee.
5 Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht, BEL) 28/4
Brought some poise to a harried central midfield and gave balls to Bedoya and Bradley in promising situations. Earned a free kick by chasing down a partial clearance and drawing a foul.
5 Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro/SWE) 9/0
Played a nice ball to Chris Wondolowski during superb buildup that produced Bradley’s near miss, added some spark and touch during his 30 minutes. Cautioned for diving shortly after his entrance; contact with the keeper appeared to be slight at best.
3 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) 4/0
Shanked a sitter shortly after coming into the match, laid a ball off that Bradley nearly converted.