The USA gained their fifth Gold Cup in Chicago, downing Panama 1-0 thanks to a Brek Shea goal, scored just seconds after he entered the game. The win extended Jurgen Klinsmann’s side’s winning streak to eleven games and earned them another piece of domestic hardware. The U.S. also earned Gold Cup championships in 1991, 2002, 2005 and 2007, defeating Panama in a shootout to win the 2005 event.

Shea’s goal in the 69th minute finally broke the deadlock in what had been an endless match. Latching onto a cross from the right wing from Alejandro Bedoya, Landon Donovan attempted to slip the ball to the far post of Jaime Penedo’s goal, but missed. Bedoya’s ball kept on rolling and would have ended up in the net anyways if Shea not got on the end of it.

Landon Donovan

It was a rare mistake from what had been an organized performance from the Canaleros, who frustrated the Americans, despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession. The Americans were often reduced to passing the ball back and forth in their own half while Gabriel Torres and Blas Perez kept pressing the backline into playing.

When the Americans got a rare chance to run at Penedo’s net, they were greeted by a Panamanian wall that turned every shot out of play. Donovan, so influential throughout the tournament, was not a factor in the early running. Also, DaMarcus Beasley was given a torrid time by Marcos Sanchez and struggled to make an impact.

The talking point of the first period was when Stuart Holden went down after a seemingly harmless challenge from Alberto Quintero. Clutching his right knee, Holden was immediately taken to the sideline with what was reported initially as a sprained right knee, but the Bolton Wanderers midfielder will undergo further tests tomorrow.

But after the interval, Klinsmann’s men slowly began to create chances and force saves out of Penedo. Beasley found Donovan all alone in the 55th minute, but Donovan was unfortunate to see his header cruise wide of the left post. Panama’s previously robust high line began to get pushed back, and Kyle Beckerman and Mix Diskerud started to have more time and freedom to usher the ball about.

The Americans have been arguably the best team of the tournament and Donovan was named the best player but there was some concern coming into this game because of the state of the US manager. Klinsmann was restricted to a sky-box view after CONCACAF slapped a one-match suspension following the German’s sending-off against Honduras in the semi-final. His understudy Andreas Herzog was the head coach for this game and will take the credit for throwing Shea on the pitch at the right time.

As well as being named ‘Player of the Tournament’, Donovan’s five goals were enough to share Golden Boot honors with team-mate Chris Wondolowski and Panama’s Gabriel Torres.



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