[GOLD CUP: Final] The USA won the Gold Cup final for the fifth time with a 1-0 win over Panama in the final before 57,920 fans at Chicago's Soldier Field. The victory earned Jurgen Klinsmann his first trophy as a coach, extended the USA's record win streak to 11 games, and earned it a playoff for the 2017 Confederations Cup.
THE FLUKE GOAL. There were several golazos among the USA’s 20 goals in six games at this Gold Cup but the goal that won the final wasn’t one. After 68 minutes of play during which neither team threatened to score, a ball from Alejandro Bedoya to Landon Donovan was missed by Donovan at the goal area's edge -- "I tried to shoot it. It wasn't my finest moment," he said.
But when Donovan whiffed, goalkeeper Jaime Penedo went to the ground and Bedoya’s ball from 25 yards out rolled toward the goal line and was on the way into the net when Brek Shea gave it a tap from inches out.
A TEPID FINAL. Both teams combined for a total of three shots on target and neither keeper needed to make a difficult save. The only other time anyone came close to scoring was when Eddie Johnson missed a sitter from six yards in the 83rd minute, banging it over the crossbar.
SUB STRIKES. Shea entered the game 42 seconds before he snatched credit for the U.S. goal. In the final group game, a 1-0 win against Costa Rica, Shea scored five minutes after entering the field. Eddie Johnson scored 15 seconds and on his first touch after coming off the bench in the 5-1 quarterfinal win over El Salvador.
A STEP TOWARD A BIG SHOW. Concacaf had previously awarded a spot in the Confederations Cup only to the winner of the biennial Gold Cup that took place nearest to the World Cup dress rehearsal, which this summer ended with Brazil’s 3-0 win over Spain and in which Mexico represented Concacaf. Now, the winner of each Gold Cup is at least guaranteed a playoff.
The USA will go to Russia in 2017 if it wins the 2015 Gold Cup or play off with the 2015 Gold Cup winner. The USA’s last Confederations Cup appearance, in 2009, included the historic 2-0 win over Spain and a 3-2 final loss to Brazil in South Africa.
KLINSMANN’S TROPHY. As a player, Klinsmann won the 1990 World Cup and 1996 European Championship with Germany, and club titles with Bayern Munich (Bundesliga 1997, UEFA Cup 1996) and Inter Milan (UEFA Cup 1991).
This Gold Cup provided his first chance to win a title since taking over as U.S. coach two years ago and it marked his first trophy as a coach. The German team he coached in 2004-06 finished third at the 2005 Confederations Cup and third at the 2006 World Cup. His 2008-09 stint as Bayern Munich coached ended after it was eliminated from the German Cup and Champions League, and the team finished runner-up in the Bundesliga under his replacement, Jupp Heynckes.
“It’s always nice winning a trophy,” Klinsmann said after the win over Panama. “You just always want to win it in a way that you have the feeling that you deserve it. This team definitely deserves the trophy, they were by far the best team of the Gold Cup, and that’s what they already said when we had our team talk.
“You do what you did the last four weeks, you deserve to win this tournament. It’s going to be a nail-biter, it’s going to take patience. It’s a good feeling for everyone, for the coach as well. You win the trophy because you deserve it. Same as 1990, we (Germany) won a World Cup and we deserved it.”
July 28 in Chicago
USA 1 Panama 0.Goal: Shea 69.
USA --Rimando, Parkhurst, Besler, Goodson, Beasley, Bedoya (Gonzalez, 69), Beckerman, Holden (Diskerud, 21), Corona (Shea, 68), Donovan, E.Johnson.
Panama --Penedo; Parris, Rodriguez, R.Torres, Chen; Sanchez, Gomez (Blackburn 74), Godoy, Quintero; Perez, G.Torres (Jimenez 64).
Referee: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador).
The winning goal ...
Gold Cup Champions:
1991: USA 0 Honduras 0
(USA wins in shootout)
1993: Mexico 4 USA 0
1996: Mexico 2 Brazil 0
1998: Mexico 1 USA 0
2000:Canada 2 Colombia 0
2002:USA 2 Costa Rica 0
2003: Mexico 1 Brazil 0 (OT)
2005: USA 0 Panama 0
(USA wins in a shootout)
2007:USA 2 Mexico 1
2009:Mexico 5 USA 0
2011:Mexico 4 USA 2
2013:USA 1 Panama 0