USA is the king of Concacaf

[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).
Att.: 57,920.

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
31 comments about "USA is the king of Concacaf".
  1. Bill Anderson, July 28, 2013 at 7:29 p.m.

    Who in their right mind would have this much faith in Brek Shea? I know who, Head Coach and Mastermind Jurgen Klinsmann. I tip my hat to the man with the plan!

  2. Charles Stamos, July 29, 2013 at 12:37 a.m.

    The US gains a lot of individual and team confidence going forward. Great job by all involved with the team. The second half of qualifying should be a lot easier. Nice effort by Panama.

  3. R2 Dad, July 29, 2013 at 3:06 a.m.

    I've watched this goal 5 times. Why was this not flagged for Offside? It appears Shea naively touched a ball already goal-bound, while in an offside position. Should have been flagged IMHO.

  4. Andy Wagner, July 29, 2013 at 7:44 a.m.

    This tournament reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Kramer is King of his dojo but the participants were all less than teenagers. If this gives you confidence than lookout when they play some real competition. Let me remind you that not too long ago Belgium made us look like the way the US made all of its opponents look like in this tournament. I cannot believe an unfit Donovan walks back into the side and outplays every player in our camp. BY the way did Donovan touch that ball...!

  5. Kent James, July 29, 2013 at 8 a.m.

    R2, I was concerned about that when watching it live, but Shea is slightly behind the ball when Donovan touches it, so the goal was correctly awarded (in the replay above, the 6 yard box provides a good reference). Andy, while much of our opposition was made up of minnows (Cuba, Belize), we did beat some decent sides (Honduras, Costa Rica & Panama), and those decent teams can be dangerous (as both we and Mexico know). So sure, they're not Spain or Brazil, but you can only play who is on the other side of the field, and given that we were struggling to even score goals early in Klinsmann's tenure, this Gold Cup win was an important milestone. And this was largely a "B" team. We're not there yet, but at least now we're on the right road.

  6. Craig Westing, July 29, 2013 at 8:05 a.m.

    I'll use Andy's logic.

    Panama beat Mexico in the semifinals, Mexico qualified for the Confederations cup, Belgium didn't.

    Panama is better than Belgium.

  7. Craig Westing, July 29, 2013 at 8:11 a.m.

    maybe Andy's right, maybe Bayern weren't the best team in the world last year?.... "German giants Bayern Munich have suffered a stunning 3-1 loss to Belarusian team FC BATE Borisov in the Champions League."

  8. Michael Saunders, July 29, 2013 at 8:40 a.m.

    What was clearly demonstrated by this tournament is that Klinsmann was the right choice as head coach. His philosphical approach combined with his application of seeking and allowing new young players from all backgrounds to particioate speaks volumes about the team's success. For all those who pointedly undercut the US triumph by emphasizing the quality of the competition, seemingly forget that the USA always had trouble against those same teams. The real indicator: When any team opts to play a bunker defense against an opponent, it usually reflects their concern about the other's team's capabilities to put the ball into the net. The US proved it could and also could be patient in finding the moment to cretae opportunities to score. I am not suggesting that the US Nat'l Team is a force to win the World Cup. Indeed, I am concerned about their defensive lapses. Yet, the team has the talent to beat any other on a given day. Klinsmann displayed flexibility and a willingness to change game plans when they were not working. Bottom line: The US Nat'l Team is no longer one dimensional, and Klinsmann deserves considerable credit.

  9. Roland Barral, July 29, 2013 at 9:02 a.m.

    Congratulations to the entire team. Early in Klinsmann's tenure, I was one of his critics, but he has earned my admiration and respect. He did know what he was doing. Donovan was the insprirational leader for the team during the entire tournament. Hats off to all!!! By the way, Shea was "onsides" and Donovan did nick the ball that goal bound. If Shea had not kicked it in, it was Donovan's goal with the assist to Bedoya.

  10. Dan Murphy, July 29, 2013 at 10:02 a.m.

    Great win USA! Credit to Klinsmann and Donovan for their professionalism (except maybe getting tossed for the final). They could not have handled this event any better IMO. With regard to the comp levels... The US has always had a hard time being patient and breaking down a defense. Throughout the Gold Cup, their possession was very good, their ball movement was great at times, and now they look really dangerous. And one of their biggest strengths has always been their counter-attack! Keep improving the D, which was good except for set-plays, and the US will be a dark horse come Brazil. Go USA!!

  11. Walt Pericciuoli, July 29, 2013 at 10:17 a.m.

    Credit is due to the entire team. This was a entertaining team to watch. They enjoyed dominance no matter who the opponent and also found ways to score and win. It was not that long ago, these same teams would have given our boys lots of trouble.On top of that, Klinsi has vetted a whole bunch of new and some younger players that will be challenging our "A" team group for spots on that final WC roster, which now all of a sudden looks so much more doable. Congratulations boys, job well done.

  12. Walt Pericciuoli, July 29, 2013 at 10:21 a.m.

    By the way, did you find it interesting that Tab Ramos (the U20 coach who so far is also producing very exciting entertaining soccer)was so close to Klinsi throughout this tournament?

  13. Andres Yturralde, July 29, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.

    Confidence... is confidence... is confidence. Good goal, good win, good tournament. Now onward!

  14. Daniel Clifton, July 29, 2013 at 10:48 a.m.

    Walt, I did find it interesting that Tab Ramos appeared to be taking an active part in the coaching during his tournament. One of the things that impresses me most during this tournament was the US's ability to possess the ball for long stretches of time. They wore down this Panama team in the first 60 minutes. I also saw this team adjusting on the fly to what the other team was doing. For instance early in the game the US was trying lot of long ball. It wasn't working because Panama was ready for, hey had obviously watched tape of the previous US game. The US then went to mostly possessing the ball with the occasional long ball or cross. I have to give credit to Klinnsman.

  15. Walt Pericciuoli, July 29, 2013 at 11:02 a.m.

    Daniel, could this be part of the continuity we have been looking for for so long? Everyone up and down on the same page, looking to play the same exciting entertaining, skillful soccer and finding the payers that can. Do we dare to hope so much?

  16. David Huff, July 29, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.

    Yesterday's game was a very exciting one, the US showed a noticeable improvement in technical skills, particularly in passing, and determination against an opponent that tried a defensive scheme that accentuated its strengths that had been shown during the previous torneo games. Nice to see this win, especially after the 2011 fiasco in Pasadena. Ein Volk, Ein USA, Ein Klinsmann!

  17. soccer talk, July 29, 2013 at 12:36 p.m.

    Great win. Confidence booster for staff,team
    With good looks at players for WC don't be a hater Andy. U prob are A Kramer.
    Go USA

  18. Alex G. Sicre, July 29, 2013 at 2:13 p.m.

    Poor Andy, he hates Americans, oh well maybe he should return to Belgium the land that he loves.

  19. rashed hasan, July 29, 2013 at 2:21 p.m.

    Really great win, its good but today a bad news still waiting----------------------------
    this is dead news. Pray for him.

  20. Brian Giammichele, July 29, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.

    Looked as though Donovan whiffed the ball as the spin on the ball did not change after leaving Bedoya's foot. That would mean the timing for the potential offside call was when Bedoya kicked it. Both Donovan and Shea were onside at that time. Bedoya should have got that goal but give Donovan some inadvertent credit. His whiff froze the goalkeeper and made it impossible for him to stop Bedoya's kick, slow roller or not.

  21. Brian Giammichele, July 29, 2013 at 2:27 p.m.

    Second look - Donovan might have imparted some spin to that ball.

  22. Chris Sapien , July 29, 2013 at 2:38 p.m.

    Very funny Craig !! Can't wait for the qualifiers !! Love how this means the WC roster spot competition amongst our boys is going to continue to rise.

  23. Nancy Carr-swaim, July 29, 2013 at 2:40 p.m.

    Another possible reason for Shea to finish off the shot is due to the closeness of a Panama defender who could have cleared it away before the ball crossed the line.

  24. Rick Kurianowicz, July 29, 2013 at 2:40 p.m.

    Great tournament win for the guys and for Klingsmann ! Take a look at the big picture and here is what has been gained:
    1)It is clear that the team is building wonderful momentum going into the September World Cup qualifying rounds
    2)Team competition at each position / team depth has increased significantly with the showing of Landon, Mix, Wondo, Eddie, Torres, Romando and Corona
    3)Ball movement has elevated significantly with the US team
    4)This is now an attacking team with 2 to 3 players in finishing positions on many crosses
    5)Klingsmann clearly has a plan and a philosophy that is taking the US National Team to the next level. While the loss to Belgium was not good, wins against Italy and Germany can’t be discounted along with the current win streak.
    Overall it is very exciting to see this program and the players grow and achieve great results !

  25. Aresenal Fan, July 29, 2013 at 6:14 p.m.

    Great win by USA, a little boring, the caneleros decided to bunker down and slow game down to a snails craw. If Panama comes in with a more attacking mindset, they lose 3-1. Can't blame USA shots on goal when Panama has 10 players parked in their las 3rd of the field..

  26. Joe Grady, July 29, 2013 at 6:50 p.m.

    @R2 Dad. Not off side. Both Donovan and Shea were on side when the ball was played.

  27. David Huff, July 29, 2013 at 8:18 p.m.

    Ein Volk, Ein USA, Ein Klinsmann! :-)

  28. James Froehlich, July 29, 2013 at 8:26 p.m.

    one comment regarding Ramos presence: in an interview following the U20 exit from the WC, Ramos said that although it was disappointing to be knocked out it was important to remember that a major part of his job was to identify and develop players for the senior team and he feltthattheir performance had accomplished that. I have the impression that Tab and JK are on the same page and that we are probably looking at JK'sreplacement.

  29. James Froehlich, July 29, 2013 at 8:42 p.m.

    Regarding the quality of US possession play: I have wanted Jk as coach for over 8 years but I never dreamed thathe could remake the style of play so completely and so quickly with the existing player pool. I truly expected that we would have to wait for the post Dempsey-Donovan generation -- but that has not been the case. Instead we are already playing a very respectable possession game, at moments it rises to outstanding. It also needs to be emphasized that this was our so-called "B" team (excluding LD of course). Before the "boo birds" jump in, I'm excited, not delusional. We have solidified our hold on the second tier of countries but I still believe that it will take anew generatioon before we move to top tier. However, at this rate, I may actually live to see it!!!

  30. beautiful game, July 29, 2013 at 10:15 p.m.

    Good result, but Panama was too bunkered in for any serious offensive threat (not one shot on goal). Their game plan played into the opponent's hands.

    JF,u and others should be excited that after years of fumbling around, the USMNT is finally playing the game with simplicity, purpose, and efficacy; that's against the 'softer' opponents. Judgment day comes against top quality squads and until then, the jury is still out,IMHO.

  31. David Huff, July 30, 2013 at 12:03 p.m.

    @ IWN, so we need to spank the dreaded Belgica in Bruxelles and then you will be happy?

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