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Chicago — The U.S. Men's National Team defeated Panama 1-0 on a second half goal from substitute Brek Shea to win the championship of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The hard-fought victory in front of 57,920 fans at Soldier Field marked the fifth time the USA has won the Gold Cup, having previously won the tournament in 1991, 2002, 2005 and 2007. The USA also pulled to within one title of tying Mexico for most overall Gold Cup championships.
With the victory, the USA earned a spot in the playoff that will be held between the champions of the 2013 and 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cups, with the winner of that match earning a berth to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. If the USA also wins the 2015 Gold Cup, it will earn an automatic berth to the Confederations Cup.
With U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann watching from a stadium suite high above the action while serving his suspension following his ejection from the semifinal, the USA had the vast majority of possession throughout the match. Still, Panama was well-organized on its defensive end, giving the USA little space in the attacking third.
After a tight first half that produced little in the way of scoring chances for either team, the USA came out of the break connecting more passes at a higher pace, and that opened up some space to work on the flanks. The winning goal came in the 69th minute from the right wing as Alejandro Bedoya, with some space to work after Michael Parkhurst's overlap froze a defender, cut back into the middle and slipped a pass on the ground into the penalty area. The ball clipped a defender and skipped behind the Panama back line.
Landon Donovan made a run onto the pass and took a swing at the ball with his right foot near the top of the six-yard box. Though Donovan missed, that froze Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to his line. The ball skipped through to the far post, and although it looked headed into the lower left corner, Shea made sure by tapping it into the net from a foot away.
Shea had come into the game just 42 seconds earlier for Joe Corona, and the goal was the second of his career for the U.S. Men's National Team. It was the third time in the tournament a U.S. substitute had provided instant offense, following Eddie Johnson's goal 15 seconds after entering the game against El Salvador in the quarterfinal and Shea's first-ever MNT goal against Costa Rica in group play, when he scored the game-winner five minutes after coming on.
The USA had a legitimate shout for a penalty kick in the 52nd minute as Donovan's cross from the right side of the penalty area caught the trailing arm of Carlos Rodriguez, but referee Joel Aguilar let the play go on.
Panama had to come out of its shell in search of an equalizer, but the U.S. defense held firm. A 72nd-minute strike after a corner kick from Roberto Chen went wide left, and Panama forced the USA to scramble away some clearances, but those were as close as the Central Americans got to tying the score.
The USA could have closed out the game in the 84th minute, but Shea's cross on the ground from the left flank somehow was clipped over the goal from close range by Eddie Johnson.
The U.S. Men's National Team will return to action next in a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Aug. 14 at Asim Ferhatovic Hase Stadium in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The match will kick off at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and WatchESPN. Fans can follow the match on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.
• There was one change to the U.S. MNT starting lineup from the semifinal victory against Honduras, with Joe Corona earning the start on the left side of the midfield in the 4-2-3-1 formation in place of Jose Torres.
• The victory extended the USA's record winning streak to 11 games, four more than its previous high of seven straight wins accomplished in 2007. The USA also improved to 12-2-2 in 2013.
• Along with its overall winning streak, the USA tied a record for longest U.S. home winning streak at 10, which was set from June 15, 2008, through July 11, 2009.
• Landon Donovan was the only player on the USA's Gold Cup roster who started all six matches during this year's tournament.
• Donovan finished the tournament with 18 career Gold Cup goals and seven goals in 2013 to lead the team, and he increased his U.S. MNT career record to 56 goals.
• Donovan shared the tournament's top scorer award with teammate Chris Wondolowski and Gabriel Torres of Panama. Each player scored five goals in the tournament.
• All nine goals the USA has scored against Panama in its Gold Cup history have been in the second half.
• The U.S. won the 2005 Gold Cup against Panama in penalty kicks after tying 0-0.
• The USA out-scored its opponents 20-3 for the tournament.
• The U.S. was forced to make an early substitute when Stuart Holden went down with a sprained right knee in the 18th minute and had to be replaced by Mix Diskerud in the 23rd. Holden will be evaluated further after the match.
• The win marked the third time the USA has won the Gold Cup from the run of play, having also won two titles in penalty kicks.
• Captain DaMarcus Beasley, who had the honor of lifting the Gold Cup trophy, made his 109th career appearance, moving within one of sixth-place Carlos Bocanegra and Paul Caligiuri (110 caps each).
• Defender Omar Gonzalez made his Gold Cup debut as an 88th-minute substitution for Alejandro Bedoya.
• Goalkeeper Nick Rimando earned his first shutout of the tournament and improved to 5-0-0 during the competition. Rimando is now 6-0-0 overall with two clean sheets in 2013.
-U.S. Men's National Team Match Report-
Match: U.S. Men's National Team vs. Panama
Date: July 28, 2013
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup - Final
Venue: Soldier Field - Chicago, Ill.
Kickoff: 3 p.m. CT
Weather: 64 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
PAN 0 0 0
USA - Brek Shea (Alejandro Bedoya) 69th minute
USA: 1-Nick Rimando; 15-Michael Parkhurst, 21-Clarence Goodson, 25-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (capt.); 14-Kyle Beckerman, 11-Stuart Holden (8-Mix Diskerud, 23); 20-Alejandro Bedoya (24-Omar Gonzalez, 89), 10-Landon Donovan, 6-Joe Corona (23-Brek Shea, 68); 26-Eddie Johnson
Subs Not Used: 2-Edgar Castillo, 4-Michael Orozco Fiscal, 12-Sean Johnson,13-Tony Beltran, 16-Jose Torres, 17-Will Bruin, 19-Chris Wondolowski, 22-Bill Hamid, 27-Alan Gordon
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
PAN: 1-Jaime Penedo; 2-Leonel Parris, 4-Carlos Rodriguez, 5-Roman Torres (capt.), 6-Gabriel Gomez (16-Rolando Blackburn, 74), 7-Blas Perez, 8-Marcos Sanchez, 9-Gabriel Torres (18-Jairo Jimenez, 65), 19-Alberto Quintero, 20-Anibal Godoy, 23-Roberto Chen
Subs Not Used: 3-Harold Cummings, 10-Eybir Bonagas, 11-Cecilio Waterman, 12-Luis Mejia, 13-Jean Carlos Cedeno, 14-Juan Perez, 15-Alex Rodriguez, 17-Roderick Miller, 21-Richard Dixon
Head Coach: Julio Valdez
Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots: 11 / 5
Shots on Goal: 2 / 1
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 3
Fouls: 19 / 16
Offside: 0 / 1
USA - Alejandro Bedoya (caution) 63rd minute
USA - Eddie Johnson (caution) 90
USA - Brek Shea (caution) 90+4
PAN - Jairo Jimenez (caution) 90+4
Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Francisco Zumba (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Morgan (JAM)
Fourth Official: Enrico Wijngaarde (SUR)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Kyle Beckerman
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