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US falls to Panama in PKs in third-place game

US Soccer

The third place game in any tournament is not a game teams really care about. It’s a lame consolation after having their hearts broken a few days before in the semifinals. But, it is still a game a team should try to win.

From the starting lineup to the way they were playing, USA did not seem to care about the result against Panama and were forced to come back only for a 1-1 draw, eventually losing in penalty kicks, 3-2.

For some reason Jurgen Klinsmann refused to start DeAndre Yedlin on the back line once again, and stuck with Timmy Chandler, who has not looked very good in the tournament. Omar Gonzalez made his way back onto the field but Fabian Johnson was pushed up to midfield instead of left back, where he has been an absolute stud. Klinsmann continues to move players around to different positions.

Graham Zusi was pushed outside. Joe Corona was moved to a two-man center midfield spot. Neither Clint Dempsey nor Alejandro Bedoya were even put in the starting lineup but the 32-year-old Chris Wondolowski got the valuable starting experience.

After a scoreless halftime, Roberto Nurse put Panama ahead in the 55th minute with a score. Nurse ran onto an up-field pass on the right side of the field. John Brooks ran right past him as he moved the ball to his left foot, dribbled forward another step and easily put the ball into the far side of the net.

Soon after both Dempsey and Yedlin got into the game and sure enough, the two connected for the USA’s goal in the 70th minute. USA had a few corners and chances at the end of regulation but could not finish any attempts.

Heading into extra time, USA looked much fresher than Panama and had a tone of opportunities, but still could not finish and was forced to go to penalty kicks. It was the first shootout for the US team in the Gold Cup since the 2005 final, when they beat Panama.

This time they would not have the same outcome. Aron Johansson and Clint Dempsey put their shots in the goal but with the shootout tied 2-2, Fabian Johnson went way over the bar. Luckily, goalkeeper Brad Guzan made an easy save on a softly shot ball to his right. That kept USA in it. At least until Michael Bradley’s shot was stopped by Luis Mejia and Harold Cumming followed it up with a successful attempt to give Panama the lead.

All the pressure was on veteran DeMarcus Beasley to keep USA alive but the man who came out of retirement and was added to the team before the knockout round has his attempt stopped. It was the first time since 2000 that USA failed to finished at least in the top three. The last time they did not make it to the Finals was 2003, when they at least beat Costa Rica in the third-place game. But back them South America was also in the federation, making for much stronger competition.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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