Commentary

USA-Panama: Men's Gold Cup Player Ratings

USA-PANAMA EXPRESS
June 26 in in Kansas City
USA 1 Panama 0. Goals: Altidore 66.
Att.: 17,037.

In the kind of game fans shouldn't be charged to watch, the USA beat Panama, 1-0. Both teams had already advanced to the second round of the Gold Cup. Coach Gregg Berhalter made 11 changes to the starting lineup from the USA's first two Gold Cup games and Panama rested more than half of its starters. Panama rarely showed interest in the U.S. goal while the USA's waves of attack suffered from a lack of creativity and poor touches. Each goalkeeper only had to make one save. The winning goal -- which the USA did deserve for its efforts -- came when a Matt Miazga header bounced off the head of Panama's Kevin Galvan to Jozy Altidore. His overhead kick from inside the goal area provided the game's lone highlight. The USA faces Curacao in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

USA PLAYER RATINGS
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)

GOALKEEPER

Slightly more involved in the game than fans watching from the stands, Sean Johnson pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area in the 15th minute and securely handled Jose Fajardo's 32nd-minute shot to the gut.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
5  Sean Johnson (New York City FC) 8/0 (30)

DEFENDERS

Left back Daniel Lovitz fouled twice in the first 11 minutes while defending and again later in the half when he lost the ball deep in Panama's half. Left back Reggie Cannon attacked far more often but the effective final pass escaped him. The center backs Matt Miazga and Omar Gonzalez succeeded in defending as high as the halfway line without getting burned on counterattacks. Miazga helped set up the goal with his header.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
4  Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas) 4/0 (21)
6  Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG) 15/1 (23)
6  Omar Gonzalez (Toronto FC) 51/3 (30)
3  Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact) 6/0 (27)

MIDFIELDERS

Djordje Mihailovic took three free kicks in the first half hour and wasted each of them -- two were crosses that flew to the keeper and one banged into the wall. His corner kicks were better. Only late in the game did he not look nervous on the ball. Wil Trapp helped the central defenders defend. Cristian Roldan also played low risk, low reward soccer on a team that needed dribblers to break down the packed Panama defense.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
4
  Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders) 13/0 (24)
4  Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew) 19/0 (26)
4  Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire) 5/1 (20)

FORWARDS

Jozy Altidore, with one moment of acrobatic improvisation, went from woeful to gamewinner. He aimed poorly on his first shot and shot weakly on his second -- but the third was a charm. Jordan Morris nicely set up one of Altidore's chances, but went 70 minutes without getting a shot of his own and generally failed to trouble the Panama defense. Jonathan Lewis was more active on the other wing but oh so frustrating because after breaking through he would pass poorly or cross way off.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) 30/5 (24)
6  Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) 113/42 (29)
5  Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids) 5/0 (22)

SUBSTITUTES

It was nice for the fans that Coach Berhalter finally put Christian Pulisic into the game -- with 25 minutes left -- but the Chelsea-bound star rarely got the ball. When in 84th minute he looked set to dribble downfield, he was cynically fouled in what was the 12th from the Panama. The USA fouled 17 times, including one from Tyler Boyd, who did little else after arriving in the 70th minute.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG) 28/11 (20)
4  Tyler Boyd (Vitoria Guimaraes/POR) 4/2 (24)
nr  Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew) 48/10 (27)

TRIVIA 1. The USA, which opened with a 4-0 win over Guyana and a 6-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago, has once previously shut out all of its three group-stage opponents, at the  Gold Cup 2007. It went on to win the title that year.

TRIVIA 2. The USA's plus-11 goal differential is its best in a Gold Cup group stage, surpassing the plus-9 it achieved in 2013 against Belize, Cuba and Costa Rica. The USA won the 2013 Gold Cup.

June 26 in Kansas City
USA 1 Panama 0. Goals: Altidore 66.
USA -- Johnson; Cannon, Miazga, Gonzalez, Lovitz; Roldan, Trapp, Mihailovic; Morris (Boyd, 70), Altidore (Zardes, 83), Lewis (Pulisic, 65).
Panama -- Calderon; Palacios, Machado, Cummings, Galvan (Murillo, 76); Browne, Escobar, Sanchez, Rodriguez; G.Torres (Barcenas, 68), Fajardo.
Yellow cards: USA -- none. Panama -- Galvan 74. Red cards: none.
Referee: Abdulrahman Al Jassim (Qatar)
Att.: 17,037.

Stats:
USA/Panama
Shots: 7/7
Shots on Goal: 2/1
Saves: 1/1
Corner Kicks: 4/0
Fouls: 17/12
Offside: 0/2
Possession: 62%/38%

26 comments about "USA-Panama: Men's Gold Cup Player Ratings".
  1. Bob Ashpole, June 27, 2019 at 2:21 a.m.

    I normally don't comment on ratings, but the 4 for Roldan is far better than he deserves. Whatever the coach sees in him, I cannot imagine from his poor performances when he appears.

  2. Wooden Ships replied, June 27, 2019 at 2:47 a.m.

    I agree Bob and for me a few others too. It feels like there also an attempt at reperations going on with USSF and Berhalter. I don’t care how seemless GB’s system becomes, many of these players just aren’t international caliber. We’ve seen the best they can do on numerous occasions and they aren’t suddenly going to be better. Move the heck on, get the younger more talented players asap. If he stays with his comfortable system guys we risk not making Qatar.
    Additionaly, do the US broadcasters realize they talk nonstop. Take a breath, they’re interfering with my viewing pleasure.

  3. Richard T. Lynch, June 27, 2019 at 6:29 a.m.

    Had all the looks of a friendly, one that didn't mean anything, including the referee.  He did more talking to the players than the coaches.  Agree above, bring on the younger kids who will take some risks and are still getting better.  No special players among this second 11.  Oh and Jozy, easy to see why he hasn't started since Oct '17.  

  4. Peter Bechtold replied, June 27, 2019 at 9:18 a.m.

    re WS: Agree that our soccer announcers talk wayyyy too much, as if it were baseball or football with lots of dead time between plays. John Strong is an improvement IMO over his many predecessors but he,too, should take a breath from time to time. However, he is much easier to listen to than our commentators for the WWC except for Derek Rae. Endless talk and endless hype; difficult to enjoy unless you eat and drink hype.

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, June 27, 2019 at 11:31 a.m.

    This seems strange that I am defending Altidore, but he is coming back from injury. His execution will improve. I was happy to see that he scored on a restart. Zardes was brought on because the coach wanted better defense more than he wanted another goal. Of course when Altidore does regain his sharpness, he will still be as limited as before. 

    In selection the question is always whether or not there are better players available. It isn't just a matter of identifying and selecting the most talented players. CONCACAF hasn't announced when qualifications will start, but they have implied that it will start later this cycle than in previous cycles. Berhalter has until then to identify better players for the pool.

  6. beautiful game, June 27, 2019 at 9:44 a.m.

    Thank you Mike W. for telling it the way it was. Another minnow opponent, at least one step slower in all phases of the game than the USNT players. The few goal scoring chances by U.S. were wasted and Panama's confusion on defense gave Altidore a chance for "salvation". Otherwise, poor performance. BTW, how did you viewers appreciate the countless "counseling" sessions delivered by the referee; he's in the wrong business being a referee. Stuart Holden needs to learn when to say something of substance and not blow smoke every 15 seconds.

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, June 27, 2019 at 11:40 a.m.

    This referee established that he knows how to use cards and a whistle in his prior match.

    I suspect that the reluctance to issue cards was to not hamper either team in the next round, as both were already through. In other words, for CONCACAF's business purposes rather than sporting considerations. At that level I am sure the officials are performing exactly as they are instructed.


  8. frank schoon, June 27, 2019 at 10:25 a.m.

    Ok, why didn't anyone call me last night that the game was on;I end up instead watching an old Rory Calhoun western. Now that I'm watching the game this morning, and after 15minutes I began multi-tasking... Comparing this game to an old Rory Calhoun western, I came out ahead on this one.
    You guys notice that watching soccer today, you have seen oine ,you've seen them all. Notice, all the patterns of play, it's all the same! You know exactly where the ball is going to go, it is soooo PREDICTABLE. GEE, let me guess what happens left center back has the ball, looks upfield , #6 the CM comes back facing downfield asking for the ball, center back dribble towards the left side a little and passes to the leftback with his back facing the sidelines who either passes it back to the centerback or looks for a medium to long pass(hopefully accurately) to pass downfield on the flank to a breaking attacker. That's it, if not #6 might get the ball dribble a little toward the center and kick a long ball to the right wing standing by the sideline,the wing might pass it back to the rightback or looks to pass into the middle.... Someone who understands the patterns  could make a board game out of these predictable pattern
    A smart coach like a Cruyff would  have his team play in a manner that forces to other team not to play their comfortable, predictable patterns of play. This forces the opponents  to change their comfortable patterns of play, thereby slowing the tempo ,positioning off the ball, and anticipation thinking. For example, If the opponent's centerack is a top-notch defender, than take place your centerforward 10-15 meterrs backwards . This forces the centerback, to either move upwards out of his comfort zone or stay, forcing him to make decisions. We call that in Holland , let the opponent "swim" or tread water. The centerforward could move closer to either flank creating 2v1 situation with the wings. Or for example, allow the opponent , the weakest defender (technically speaking) the ball when building up. 
    Cruyff when coaching Barcelona, played against Sampdoria who had the great Italian goal scorer Vialli. Most coaches most would him guarded man to man but Cruyff realized sooner or later, he'll get his chance. Vialli's strength because he's used to having a man tight on him , his rhythm and mannerism is to feel his man in back which tells where to go. Cruyff, decided to not play tight man to man, but back off a couple of meters. This maneuver threw Vialli off his game because now he was treading for he didn't know exactly what to do when receiving the ball, throwing his rhythm and thinking  off. 
    What I'm saying here is a smart coach should have his team play in a manner to runs counter to the manner of play of today's teams play

     

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, June 27, 2019 at 11:46 a.m.

    It doesn't take Cruyff to play better than this. I have seen adult recreational teams play smarter than this on many a Saturday afternoon, and there was no coaches in the technical areas yelling instructions.

  10. Right Winger replied, June 27, 2019 at 11:50 a.m.

    Frank, next time go for a Randolph Scott western.  Either one was the first division compared to last night.  Now I am dating myself.

    Frank, you answered this question before but I just want to make sure I am clear and not hearing things.  DO YOU THINK THIS IS A WCUP TEAM?

  11. Right Winger replied, June 27, 2019 at 11:50 a.m.

    Frank, next time go for a Randolph Scott western.  Either one was the first division compared to last night.  Now I am dating myself.

    Frank, you answered this question before but I just want to make sure I am clear and not hearing things.  DO YOU THINK THIS IS A WCUP TEAM?

  12. frank schoon replied, June 27, 2019 at noon

    RW, There was a Randolph Scott movie right before that...He's still the best...
    WC team???? LOL....

  13. frank schoon replied, June 27, 2019 at 12:04 p.m.

    Bob, I realize that. I was only explaing that ,currently, soccer ,the way it is played, is just boring. Something has got to change in how teams approach this game and that calls for me ingenuity. Too many coaches just follow what is trendy and not really how Cruyff thinks about the game. 

  14. Nick Gabris, June 27, 2019 at 11:04 a.m.

    Status Quo!! Should have rating for the coach as well!....  Does anyone know if Tab Ramos was interviewed for the MNT position?

  15. Wooden Ships replied, June 27, 2019 at 11:43 a.m.

    I don’t know if he was. I think all the questions surrounding the job search is readily abailable to the public. I could barely finish that sentence-sorry.

  16. Kent James, June 27, 2019 at 12:16 p.m.

    While I think the analysis of the game and the players is generally accurate, I think Lewis has some potential.  He has the speed (and quickness), seems to have a good touch, and is not afraid to take people on...now if he could only pass or shoot accurately once he gets in position.


    The ref I thought was pretty poor (and I am generally sypathetic to the difficulties of the position).  In the beginning, he called lots of things that were not fouls (even coming over and doing the "no more!" signal for some of them).  I think Miazga hit a great header; jumped high, jumped early, got the ball and the ref called him for a foul. He was (rightfully) in disbelief.  And then in the second half he seemed to suddenly start ignoring everything.  He was probably reprimanded for using too many cards in the last game (so that may be a partial explanation) but we were fortunate that the game didn't matter and there were no real game critical calls.  

  17. Kevin Sims, June 27, 2019 at 12:34 p.m.

    Gonzalez 4
    Mihailovic 3
    Trapp 5
    Altidore's passing, vision, touch far better than Zardes ... but quite inconsistent  

  18. J C, June 28, 2019 at 9:43 a.m.

    No idea how Miazga is not the inked-in starter on this team. He was, by far, the best player on the field against Panama. Given the roster's limitations, I think Berhalter has done a good job, but I have no idea what he is seeing here. Zimmerman and Long haven't been bad at all, but Miazga is a potential lower-half Premier League defender.

  19. frank schoon replied, June 28, 2019 at 10:11 a.m.

    JC, you're not the one that walks on water ,right?  Ok ,otherwise there is no way I'm going to question the points you're making....
     Miazga has been bounced around all over in Europe, all the teams have gotten rid of him.  I don't even know if he  has a club, although he is under contract by Chelsea; I certainly would like to meet the idiot that signed him to a contract at Chelsea. Miazga's manager probably  laughed all the way to the bank.
    Him being the best player in the Panama game says more about Panama lack of good offense by Panama than his abilities
    I really question that he is potential lower half premier player. I'd say more a second division type...

  20. J C replied, June 29, 2019 at 3:41 p.m.

    Frank, I can't walk on water, but I did stay at a Holiday In Express last night.


    I watched Miazga play a couple times at Reading this year. He was their player of the month in March, and finished in the top 3 for Player of the Year, there, despite only playing the second half of the year. He and the other loanees saved Reading from relegation, which clearly makes him a solid Championship defender. IMO, he has a higher ceiling, although Reading certainly want him back. There's no reason he couldn't start for Bournemouth, Burnley or Southampton. Chelsea-quality he may not be, but a solid Championship defender should be starting over Zimmerman.

  21. beautiful game, June 28, 2019 at 9:45 a.m.

    "Jozy Altidore, with one moment of acrobatic improvisation, went from woeful to gamewinner." So, Jozy gets a 6-rating, really? The confused Panama defense handed him a scoring opportunity and he delivered, otherwise, brought little to the team table. 

  22. beautiful game, June 28, 2019 at 9:45 a.m.

    "Jozy Altidore, with one moment of acrobatic improvisation, went from woeful to gamewinner." So, Jozy gets a 6-rating, really? The confused Panama defense handed him a scoring opportunity and he delivered, otherwise, brought little to the team table. 

  23. frank schoon replied, June 28, 2019 at 9:56 a.m.

    BG, keep it simple! You are ruining the ratings scheme.....

  24. Kent James replied, June 28, 2019 at 1:01 p.m.

    Boy BG, you're hard to please.  I think the comment was spot on (we don't give goal scorers credit when they seem to be playing well but can't score, so to be fair, we should give them credit when they do score even if they didn't do much in the rest of the game).  And it was quite an adept, acrobatic, goalscorers goal.  Granted, if you don't like Jozy, one strike won't change your mind (I get that), but his touch and goal scoring ability has certainly improved over the years, and he deserves credit for that.  I was not initially a Jozy fan (he was big and strong, and that seemed to be about it), but he's grown on me.  One of the few bright spots in the otherwise pedestrian game, so sure, why not a 6?  I mean, it's still only one above a 5 (average).

  25. Bob Ashpole replied, June 28, 2019 at 2:41 p.m.

    Kent, Altidore actually noticably improved his game about 4 years ago. This goal was on a set piece which is he is good at. He is also good when he is able to run at the goal. Otherwise he isn't much of a threat. He doesn't contribute much on defense, but I attribute that to his large size. Every pound costs energy to move around the field. He is so big, he uses up a lot more energy even walking on the field. You save time by running instead of walking 10 yards, not energy. High School physics.

  26. Right Winger, June 28, 2019 at 9:54 a.m.

    Didn't get the chance to watch the game live but did record it.  Watched it last night and watched it up until Altidore scored then I couldn't watch it anymore .  It was tough to watch it up until that time.  I hope we know where we are going with this team.   I would send the U20's to the world cup.

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