Uninspired Americans Flop Out of the Gold Cup with Loss to Panama on Kicks

Uninspired Americans Flop Out of the Gold Cup with Loss to Panama on Kicks
Posted on July 26, 2015 by Tim

CHESTER, Pennsylvania (July 22, 2015) – The U.S. Men’s National Team was defeated by Panama 3-2 in penalty kicks in the Gold Cup Third Place match Saturday afternoon at PPL Park.

Trailing 1-0 at the tail end of the second half, substitutes DeAndre Yedlin and Clint Dempsey combined to level the match, 1-1.

As the clock continued ticked away, both sides attacked and generated chances, but none found the back of the net, and after an additional 30 minutes of extra time, the match was off to penalty kicks.

In PKs, the U.S. converted its two opening penalties, but then saw a miss and two consecutive saves by Panama ‘keeper Luis Mejia, which made Harold Cummings’s conversion in the fourth round the winning kick. With the result, the MNT finished fourth at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Later this year, the MNT will face the winner of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup – either Jamaica or Mexico – in a one-game playoff for a spot in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. The playoff pits the winner of the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cups against one another for a spot at the tournament in Russia the year before the World Cup. The USA last featured at the Confederations Cup in 2009 when the team beat then No. 1-ranked Spain and advanced to the Final against Brazil.

Criticism Surrounding USA's Gold CupL loss Really Reflects Growth of National Team? Get Real!

Criticism Surrounding USA's Gold CupL loss Really Reflects Growth of National Team? Get Real!
Posted on July 26, 2015 by Tim

For now, most of the ire is being directed toward the coach, not the players. Although many point to mistakes made by young central defenders Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks during the Gold Cup group stage and then Wednesday’s semifinal, the blame has been laid at Klinsmann’s feet for starting them over the likes of Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler or Tim Ream—not at those of the 22-year-old backs.

“The game is growing here so fast. The attention that the game enjoys now is completely different than a couple of years ago,” he said here at PPL Park, where the U.S. is preparing for Saturday’s third-place game against Panama. “The players are getting far more appreciation, but also here and there maybe a little bit of criticism when things don’t work out the right way. It just shows and proves the growth of the United States. It’s going to be only bigger and bigger. If there’s a negative moment, like there’s a negative moment with the Jamaica result—not the game, but the result—then it’s fine if people criticize.”

From sports media to social media, Klinsmann's team has been slammed for losing to Jamaica in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Wednesday night in Atlanta. More than a few prominent voices have called the 2-1 defeat - America's first on home soil to a Caribbean nation since 1969 - the biggest upset loss in the team's entire history.

Much of the criticism has been directed at Klinsmann himself, especially over his lineup selections. After insisting before the Gold Cup started that the U.S. put a huge priority on winning it, Klinsmann benched veteran defenders Omar González and Tim Ream, and didn't even include stalwarts Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron on the tournament roster.

Instead, Klinsmann started 22-year-olds Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks in the must-win game against Jamaica.

Yes, Brooks was the hero of last summer's World Cup, but, on Wednesday night, he got beaten one-on-one for Jamaica's firs tgoal.

“Obviously the team is disappointed, the fans are disappointed because you wanted to play the big final on Sunday in Philadelphia. It was a very, very good performance. I really told them at halftime as well, ‘Just keep playing like that, you’re going to get opportunities and sooner or later you’re going to put them in the net and we’re going to turn this game around.’ We lost this game with two set pieces that we conceded. It’s as simple as that. We had enough chances to put three, four, five in there. We didn’t do that, and that’s why at the end of the day we lost it. That’s unfortunate, but it’s reality. Congratulations to Jamaica being in the final, and we have to swallow that pill.”

USA and Mexico Close to Butting Heads Again in Gold Cup Final – But Beware the Underdogs

USA and Mexico Close to Butting Heads Again in Gold Cup Final – But Beware the Underdogs
Posted on July 22, 2015 by Tim

Though both teams have failed to impress, it seems that the inevitability of a USA-Mexico final is all but upon us, with both teams just one victory away from the final in Philadelphia. But as the semi-finals get under way on Wednesday, both USA and Mexico should be wary of their opponents, two sides that have earned their way to this stage thanks to some dogged performances.