2. Thank goodness for Clint Dempsey.
Well, it's a good thing MLS commissioner Don Garber didn't throw the book at Clint Dempsey after he tore up the notebook of referee Daniel Radford and got thrown out of the Seattle Sounders' Open Cup match against Portland. Dempsey would still be serving his suspension if Garber had found him guilty of referee assault and not referee abuse that resulted in only a three-game ban.
All Dempsey has done at the Gold Cup is score all the goals in the 2-1 win over Honduras and 1-0 win over Haiti and come off the bench against Panama and spark the U.S. comeback with the hustle play that kept the ball alive for him to find Alejandro Bedoya, whose pass set up Michael Bradley for the equalizer. It was like the USA of old, getting mediocre performances but escaping thanks to Dempsey.
Gold Cup: Haiti advances with upset win
Dempsey's return -- he had not played for the USA in almost five months before the July 3 friendly against Guatemala -- is now even more important because Jozy Altidore is mired in a funk and didn't even play on Monday night. Klinsmann tried Gyasi Zardes as the target man in Altidore's place but that move didn't work. After the break, Klinsmann brought on Dempsey for Chris Wondolowski and the combination of Dempsey and Zardes looked much better.
3. Klinsmann's replacement options are limited.
Klinsmann is expected to announce any changes to his roster for the knockout stage on Tuesday. It is not like he has many exciting options from his reserve list of 12 players. Jordan Morris would have been a likely replacement for Wondolowski, but he recently had surgery for a stress fracture and is on the mend. Morris' ability to combine up front -- along with his evident talismanic qualities -- would have been a welcome addition.
A longshot move would be to recall DaMarcus Beasley to play at left back and move Fabian Johnson over to the right back in place of Timmy Chandler, but that would be viewed a signal of panic. A more likely move would be to recall Matt Besler as cover with Brooks, who is suspended for Saturday's quarterfinal match. The U.S. situation isn't that dire as the other powerhouses in the tournament haven't exactly been tearing it up either. Of the other three 2014 World Cup finalists, Mexico has a win against Cuba, the worst team at the tournament, and a scoreless tie against 10-man Guatemala, Costa Rica has two ties and must face Canada Tuesday in Toronto, and Honduras is out without winning a game.
For Saturday's quarterfinal match, Klinsmann will likely stick with the team that started the second half on Monday night with the exception of Brooks, who'll likely be replaced by Omar Gonzalez. Alvarado and Gonzalez teamed up to shut out Mexico, 2-0, in April, so they've played together.
July 13 in Kansas City, Kansas
USA 1 Panama 1. Goals: Bradley 54; Perez 33.
USA -- Guzan; Chandler, Alvarado, Brooks, Johnson; Bedoya (Johannsson, 70), Bradley, Beckerman, Morales (Yedlin, 46); Zardes, Wondolowski (Dempsey, 46).
Panama -- Penedo, Pimentel (Camargo, 61), R.Torres, Cummings, Davis; Cooper, Gomez, Godoy, Quintero (Arroyo, 85); Perez, Tejada (Nurse 70).
Yellow Cards: USA -- Brooks 15, Chandler 43, Alvarado 47; Panama -- Godoy 44.
Referee: Roberto Garcia (Mexico).