Sunday, June 12, 2011

2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup - Night Six: Panama Shocks USA?

Group C wrapped up the second round of Gold Cup group stage matches on Saturday night in Tampa. In the night's opening match, Canada and Guadeloupe were both looking for their first group stage win while the United States and Panama met in the second match with both teams looking for that win that would secure a quarterfinals berth.

The only goal in the Canada-Guadeloupe match came in the 50th minute on a penalty kick that was converted by Dwayne De Rosario. It was De Rosario's 16th international goal. While the Canadian players are happy with the win, it wasn't a convincing win considering Canada played with a man advantage over 85 minutes of the match because Guadeloupe's Jean Luc Lambourde picked up a red card in the 2nd minute after fouling Will Johnson. The win keeps Canada in the mix for advancing to the quarterfinals and they may be helped by the fact that Panama, as detailed below, already qualified and won't have to take Tuesday's match as seriously.

In the hours preceding the United States-Panama match, it was easy to get a sense from US fans on Twitter and Facebook that they considered it a slam dunk win for the United States and that the US would end the night securing a quarterfinals berth. Unfortunately for the United States and its fans, Panama decided it wasn't going to play by that presumed script. Luis Tejada gave the US notice in the 18th minute when he picked up a rebound off of US keeper Tim Howard. It was 2-0 in favor of Panama come halftime thanks to Tim Ream fouling Blas Pérez in the box, giving Panama a penalty kick that was converted by Gabriel Gómez in the 35th minute. The United States wasn't able to get onto the scoreboard until the 67th minute thanks to a Clarence Goodson header. The late goal breathed a certain sense of urgency into the US side, but it was too little too late as they lost a group stage match for the first time in Gold Cup history. The 2-1 victory over the United States secured a quarterfinals spot for Panama.

Group C wraps up group stage play in Kansas City on Tuesday night with Canada playing Panama and the United States playing Guadeloupe.

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