Both teams had about the same balance of first- and
second-team players -- seven starters, four for Panama and three for the USA, had started when the two teams met in World Cup 2018 qualifying in March -- but the Canaleros, led by Anibal Godoy,
Gabriel Gomez and Miguel Camargo, dominated the midfield.
"We didn't deal well with their pressure," said Arena, "especially in the midfield. We turned the ball over way too much in midfield. We didn't do a good job of establishing a rhythm, getting our team more involved in the game. Defensively, we didn't do a good enough job getting enough pressure on the ball dealing with some of their numbers in wide positions."
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Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya said the USA should have done a better job of holding on to the lead after Dom Dwyer's goal in the 50th minute.
"We just weren’t able to move the ball fast enough in final third," the U.S. captain said. "We lost the ball in the middle sometimes. In this heat, it cost us a lot. A mental lapse cost us the three points after we scored a goal to go up 1-0. We have to be able control the game better. We had plenty of chances to clear the ball."
The USA had its share of chances in the first half as Kelyn Rowe and Jorge Villafana created opportunities on the left flank.
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"They wanted to get ball wide which we did -- both sides -- where we were a little bit dangerous
when we got balls in the box," Rowe said. "It wasn't an easy one, it was hot and humid. You saw guys after the 60th or 70th minute start to cramp up. They weren't ideal conditions even with the water breaks."
Crap performance..Has to be better.. Thanks for the support as always!— Kellyn Acosta (@KellynAcosta) July 8, 2017
Rowe praised keeper Brad Guzan for keeping the USA in the game. Panama had too much time and space to attack, forcing Guzan into seven
"We need to make sure we are better all around the pitch in closing guys down," said Guzan. "We gave them too much time on ball, too much space. We never got close enough, whether in terms of pressing or in our defensive third. We need to take care of the ball. We turned the ball over too easily sometimes."