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Eric Lichaj

Men's National Team
National Teams

MNT Weekend TV Schedule: Race for the World Cup Roster

Another weekend will see a smattering of U.S. Men’s National Team players take the field across Europe and south of the Rio Grande as well. Only a few matches featuring U.S. players will be broadcast on TV in the States, but the offering of do-or-die FA Cup matches in England and a chance for Puebla to knock off Liga MX leaders Cruz Azul offer an excellent opportunity to scout a handful of players that will also be playing to earn a call up to the U.S. squad for its next friendly on March 5 against Ukraine in Kharkiv.

U.S. Men’s National Team on TV (all times ET) :

FOX Sports 2
SUNDERLAND-SOUTHAMPTON (live) 7:30 a.m. (FA Cup)
Jozy Altidore

FOX SoccerPlus
Oguchi Onyewu

NICE-NANTES (live) 1:45 p.m. (Ligue 1)
Alejandro Bedoya

CRUZ AZUL-PUEBLA (live) 6 p.m. (Liga MX)
DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco

FOX Sports 1
EVERTON-SWANSEA (live) 8:30 a.m. (FA Cup)
Tim Howard

FOX Soccer Plus
Eric Lichaj

QPR-READING (delay) 1 p.m. (English League Championship)
Danny Williams

Eric Lichaj Q&A: “We need to use these opportunities to … improve now in the last few months before the World Cup.” This is your first call up to the National Team in a while. What’s it like being back on the roster ?
Eric Lichaj: “It feels good seeing some familiar faces, some guys I haven’t seen in a really long time. It’s good to be back in the mix after a little over two years now.” What was your reaction when you received the call from Jurgen asking you to join the team for the friendlies against Scotland and Austria ?
EL: “I was really excited. I got a call on Friday after training from the manager and he just said he wanted me to come in. I told him I was really excited because I was. Last time I had a thigh injury, plus I was having my first child. It’s been a year now since that happened. Time’s passed, and I’m looking forward to this camp.” How did your first training session with the team go ?
EL: “It’s good. Some of the guys were a bit jet-lagged, but for me personally it was a one-hour flight, so I was feeling fresh. It was good just to get some of the guys working and stretched out. Everything is looking good.” What do you hope to accomplish with the team while you are in camp for the next week ?
EL: “For the team, every player is trying to impress to get to the World Cup obviously. For me personally, I’m just trying to do what I do best. Hopefully, that will be enough for the manager to bring me in for the next camp. So, I’ll just keep working hard towards that.” What kind of opportunity do these two friendlies present you and the team ?
EL: “These are two good games in Europe. We always talked about playing in these kinds of games in Europe on these kinds of nights where everybody is tested at the highest level. We need to use these opportunities to see where we’re at individually, where we’re at as a team, and where we can improve now in the last few months before the World Cup.” You have gotten off to a good start to the season with your club Nottingham Forest of the English League Championship. What has gone right for you there ?
EL: “Yeah, off to a great start. Obviously, the way things work in that city, emotions are high and people are excited and it’s great to be a part of that. Having said that, there’s still a feeling within the team that it’s just a start and there are a lot of games left. We want to make sure we are continuing to improve on that good start and make it count at the end.”

U.S. Men's National Team Advances to CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals with a 2-0 Victory Against Jamaica

  • First Career Goal from Jermaine Jones Provides U.S. with Game-Winner 
  • Clint Dempsey Seals the Win With 21st Career Goal and Second in 2011 Gold Cup
  • U.S. Will Face Panama in Semifinal Match on Wednesday, June 22 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, Live at 6 p.m. CT on Fox Soccer and Univision

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 19, 2011) – The U.S. Men’s National Team put together its best performance in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup this afternoon with an impressive 2-0 victory against Jamaica at RFK Stadium to advance to the semifinals.

The U.S. dominated the match and created numerous chances, finally breaking through in the second half when Jermaine Jones’ one-timer from the top of the penalty area found the back on the net. After a red card to Jermaine Taylor, the U.S. used their man advantage to put the game away with an attractive passing sequence the led to a well-composed finish from close range by Clint Dempsey.

The victory extended the United States' unbeaten record against Jamaica to 18 matches and was their largest margin of victory in a Gold Cup quarterfinal match since 2005.

The U.S. will face Panama in the semifinals on Wednesday, June 22, at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Kickoff for the match is at 6 p.m. CT can be seen live on FOX Soccer and Univision. FOX Soccer will also have a 30-minute pre-game show beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT. (tickets).

In the other quarterfinals played on Saturday, Mexico defeated Guatemala 2-1 while Honduras got past Costa Rica on penalty kicks. Mexico and Honduras will face off in the other semifinal match of the evening, kicking off at 9 p.m. CT.

"I thought we played a good game today. From the start we were able to do a good job establishing control, passing the ball and keeping the ball,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “It took a while to get the goal and the second goal, but certainly as far as establishing our game today I thought we did an excellent job.”

Dempsey and Landon Donovan both returned to the team early this morning after being excused from camp earlier in the week to attend their sisters’ weddings on Saturday. After evaluating all factors, the coaching staff decided to have Dempsey start and put Donovan on the reserve list. It was a rare occurrence for the all-time leading scorer to be used off the bench, and he entered in the 66th minute to make his first appearance as a substitute since the 2007 Gold Cup against Trinidad & Tobago.

While replacing Donovan, the coaching staff also changed up the formation, opting for a 4-2-3-1 formation with Jozy Altidore up top as the lone forward. Alejandro Bedoya and Sacha Kljestan made their first starts in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, with Bedoya playing on the wing normally patrolled by Donovan and Kljestan sliding into the center.

While the U.S. dominated the majority of the match, Jamaica provided an early scare with a fantastic opportunity after a U.S turnover near midfield in the fourth minute. Dane Richards dribbled up the right side and cut into the penalty area before sliding the ball back to Rodolph Austin who mishit his shot but the ball managed to skip through the U.S. defense to Ryan Johnson unmarked at the left post. Howard came up with an impressive save on Johnson’s point blank shot, and the U.S. was fortunate that Luton Shelton skied the rebound from nine yards out while staring at a wide-open net.

Four minutes later, the U.S. was dealt a blow when Jozy Altidore pulled up holding his left hamstring after running down a long ball. The forward tried to walk it off, but shortly gestured to the U.S. bench that he needed to be substituted and Juan Agudelo was brought in a few minutes later after a quick warm-up on the sideline.

Dempsey once again was active in the attack and tested Jamaica goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts for the full 90 minutes. In the 13th minute, Bedoya did well to head a cross back to Dempsey near the top of the penalty area and he hit a sliding volley hard on target, but Ricketts was able to push the attempt over the bar.

A minute later, Dempsey did well to keep a ball in play inside the penalty area and then put in a dangerous ball across the goalmouth, but no one was able to get a foot to direct it on goal.

Dempsey continued his barrage against the Reggae Boyz with a free kick in the 36th minute, hitting a swerving shot near the top of the goal but again Ricketts was up to the challenge with a right-handed save to parry it over the crossbar.

On their heels for the previous 30 minutes, Jamaica did well to build a counterattack after a U.S. corner kick. Richards ran onto to a pass into the left side of the penalty area and cut back against his defender to take a shot from a tough angle, but Howard was barely tested at the near post.

After the Jamaica attack, the U.S. once again took control and produced five more shots in the final six minutes of the half. In the 39th minute, Kljestan hit a strike from 24 yards out that forced Ricketts into a save, and then a minute later Dempsey tried an ambitious bicycle kick from 12 yards out off a corner kick that went just wide. Bedoya found himself in the same location as Dempsey shortly after but his snap header off a Klejstan cross went wide left as well.

Agudelo was active all game despite coming on unexpectedly for the injured Altidore and almost put the U.S. up in the 42nd minute. With three defenders shadowing him, Agudelo did well to create some space to hit a drive from top of the 18 that Ricketts had to stretch out to keep the ball from finding the net. The rebound fell to the left for Jones, but he couldn’t get a solid strike on the ball from a tough angle.

With a minute left in the half, Michael Bradley slipped a ball into the penalty area for Eric Lichaj, but the young defender’s one-timer was swallowed up by Ricketts.

The U.S. came out with the same attacking mentality in the second half, and finally got past Ricketts with a little help in the 49th minute. Lichaj hit a cross into the penalty area that was headed out by Jermaine Taylor, falling to Jones near the top of the penalty area. Jones struck the ball first time through traffic where Taylor stuck out a foot to block the shot, but instead deflected it to the left side of the goal leaving Ricketts helpless as he dove the other way. The goal was the first of Jones’ career with the U.S. in nine appearances.

Later in the half after a throw-in deep on the right sideline, Cherundolo served in a ball that skipped through to Dempsey at the far post. Dempsey’s dove to get his head to the cross from five yards out but again Ricketts was able to thwart the chance by quickly shifting to his right to make an impressive save with his chest.

Behind the stellar performance by Ricketts, Jamaica was able to hold on to the hope that they could get back in the match but that all changed in the 67th minute when Taylor was sent off for denying Jones a goalscoring opportunity. A pass by Dempsey ricocheted off two Jamaican defenders and fell to Jones in the center circle where he took a good initial touch to get past Taylor with a clear path to goal. Trailing Jones, Taylor slid and tripped up the midfielder about 40 yards from goal.

In the 79th minute, Kljestan won a loose ball, dribbled forward toward the midfield stripe and provided a perfect through ball for Donovan who got behind the final defender. Donovan took a touch but Ricketts came out of the box to cut off his angle, forcing Donovan to drop the ball back to Dempsey. Instead of taking a shot from distance, Dempsey played it back to Donovan who was called offside as Ricketts was in advance of the ball but a Jamaican defender was covering the goal line.

A minute later, Dempsey finally broke through with his second goal of the 2011 Gold Cup to solidify the win for the United States. The U.S. won the ball and quickly got it to Agudelo, who dribbled up the right side and played a beautiful give-and-go with Donovan to break down the three Jamaica defenders that were tracking back. Agudelo slipped the ball across the penalty area for Dempsey who cleverly took a composed touch to his left to avoid the onrushing Ricketts, then calmly tapped the ball into the open net.

Dempsey’s goal was the 21st of his career, putting him tied with 2011 National Soccer Hall of Fame Inductee Bruce Murray for the fifth-most goals scored in U.S. history. Dempsey has scored four career Gold Cup goals, including two in the 2011 Gold Cup.

The U.S. is seeking its fifth Gold Cup title and first since 2007 when the team defeated Mexico 2-1 in the final in Chicago. The winner of this year’s tournament earns a berth in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.

-- U.S. Men's National Team Game Report --

Match: United States vs. Jamaica
Date: June 19, 2011
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup – Quarterfinal
Venue: RFK Stadium – Washington, D.C.
Kickoff: 3 p.m.ET
Attendance: 45,423
Weather: Cloudy, 80 degrees

Scoring Summary:    1              2              F
USA                            0              2              2
JAM                            0              0              0

USA – Jermaine Jones                                 49th minute
USA – Clint Dempsey (Juan Agudelo)            80

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 14-Eric Lichaj; 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones (7-Maurice Edu, 75); 22-Alejandro Bedoya (10-Landon Donovan, 66), 16-Sacha Kljestan, 8-Clint Dempsey; 17-Jozy Altidore (9-Juan Agudelo, 12)
Subs not used: 12-Jonathan Bornstein, 15-Tim Ream, 20-Freddy Adu, 23-Marcus Hahnemann
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

JAM:1-Donovan Ricketts; 8-Eric Vernan (15-Jevaughn Watson, 64), 4-Shavar Thomas, 19-Adrian Reid, 6-Jermaine Taylor; 17-Rodolph Austin, 7-Jason Morrison (18-Keammar Daley, 69), 12-Demar Phillips; 11-Dane Richards, 9-Ryan Johnson, 21-Luton Shelton (16-Omar Daley, 74)
Subs not used: 2- Richard Edwards, 13-Dwayne Miller, 20-Navion Boyd, 22-Damian Williams
Head coach: Theodore Whitmore

Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 17 / 7
Shots on Goal: 10 / 3
Saves: 3 / 8
Corner Kicks: 6 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
JAM – Rodolph Austin (caution)                       16th minute
USA – Jermaine Jones (caution)                     26
JAM – Jermaine Taylor (sent off)                    67

Referee:  Marco Rodriguez (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Luis Carmago (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Morin (MEX)
Fourth Official: Walter Lopez (GUA)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Jermaine Jones


U.S. Men's National Team Moves on to CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinals with a 1-0 Victory against Guadeloupe

  • U.S. Finishes Second in the Group with Six Points Behind Panama 
  • Jozy Altidore Scores the Game-Winner in the Ninth Minute 
  • U.S. Will Face Jamaica in Quarterfinal Match on Sunday, June 19 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., Live at 3 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer and Univision

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (June 14, 2011) – The U.S. Men’s National Team advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup this evening with a dominating 1-0 victory against Guadeloupe at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in their third and final Group C match.

The U.S. controlled the entire match against Guadeloupe and created 21 shots but Jozy Altidore’s impressive strike from distance in the ninth minute was their only goal on the night.

The U.S. will face Jamaica in the quarterfinals at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, June 19 at 3 p.m. ET. The match can be seen live on FOX Soccer and Univision. FOX Soccer will also have a 30-minute pre-game show beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. (tickets).

“Overall, it was a good performance,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “It’s certainly a game at the end where we still feel we should have finished the game earlier. We had good chances to get the second goal. There were a lot of positives, and now we get ready to move forward.

“Our goal has always been to get to the final. We understand from experience what it means in group play. You have to deal with each game and find a way to advance. I think there are things there that bring the group together, and now we get ready for the knockout phase and approach it one game at a time.”

With Canada and Panama drawing 1-1 earlier in the evening, the U.S. could only finish as high as second, making this the first time ever they didn’t win their group in Gold Cup history.

In their first-ever match against Guadeloupe, Bradley made two changes to the starting lineup from the first two group games. Eric Lichaj earned his first Gold Cup appearance in place of Tim Ream, and Chris Wondolowski replaced Juan Agudelo up front. With the changes, Carlos Bocanegra moved inside to play in the center of the defense alongside Clarence Goodson.

Despite the dominating performance, it was Guadeloupe that had the first dangerous opportunity off a corner kick in the third minute. A near post service wasn’t cleared by a number of capable U.S. players, allowing the ball to skip towards the back post. Goalkeeper Tim Howard only got a slight touch to it and Landon Donovan’s clearance hit Clint Dempsey before Stephane Zubar pounced on the loose ball but his strike from 12 yards out struck the crossbar.

After that initial scare, the U.S. began their overwhelming dominance but were continually thwarted either due to poor finishing or remarkable saves by Guadeloupe goalkeeper Franck Grandel.

Clint Dempsey was active all evening and created numerous chances on goal, but wasn’t able to find the back of the net. He provided the USA’s first chance of the night in the sixth minute when he unleashed a free kick from 28 yards out, but Grandel was able to make the diving save.

While Grandel would come up with a number of saves during the rest of the half, he had not chance on Altidore’s goal, the 12th of his national team career. After a poor clearance by Guadeloupe, the U.S. put together a string of 13 consecutive passes inside their attacking half before Bradley found Altidore to his right. The forward dribbled to create some space before unleashing a 25-yard blast into upper right corner.

Jermaine Jones initiated the next goal-scoring opportunity in the 24th minute when he hit a driven ball from just inside defensive center circle to the far right corner for Steve Cherundolo. After a settling touch near the endline, Cherundolo sent in a perfectly-placed cross to wide-open Dempsey at the six-yard box, but the midfielder’s header went agonizingly wide left.

The U.S. continued the onslaught and Dempsey hit a well-struck shot from outside the penalty area in the 31st, but Grandel once again made the save.

Ten minutes later, even when Grandel made a gaffe with a poor pass off a free kick that allowed the U.S. to create a quick attack, he was able to make up for it with two fantastic saves. Off the turnover, Altidore slipped Wondolowski into the penalty area with a great through ball, but Grandel denied the San Jose striker with a foot save. The ball stayed in play and Wondolowski ended up with another chance, but his left-footed strike from 12 yards was gobbled up by Grandel with a low dive to his right.

The U.S. continued to have the better of the play in the second half and during a six-minute span had three chances just miss. The first came in the 54th minute when Jones served a long ball from midfield into the penalty area and Altidore showed his strength by holding off two defenders to get off a shot, but his attempt was deflected out for a corner. Donovan had his best chance of the game three minutes later on a nice passing sequence with Dempsey and Jones, but his final touch from six yards out missed the target. A couple minutes later, Dempsey’s 30-yard free kick was on target but hit the top of the cross bar.

Dempsey looked assured to score in the 76th minute when Bedoya’s square pass in front of the net provided him with a wide-open goal him six yards out, but he took a settling touch and before he could tap it home, Julien Ictoi raced back and cleared it off his foot.

Dempsey had one final chance to get his deserved goal on the night in the 92nd minute, but his spinning shot inside the penalty area went wide right.

The quarterfinals begin on Saturday, June 18 with two matches at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. In the first match, Costa Rica will face Honduras, followed by Mexico and Guatemala. Following the U.S. match on Sunday at RFK, Panama will take on El Salvador.

The U.S. is seeking its fifth Gold Cup title and first since 2007 when the team defeated Mexico 2-1 in the final in Chicago. The winner of this year’s tournament earns a berth in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.

-- U.S. Men's National Team Game Report --

Match: USA vs. Guadeloupe
Date: June 14, 2011
Competition: 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup; Group C
Venue: LIVESTRONG Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. CT
Attendance: 20,109 (sellout)
Weather: 85 degrees, fair

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        1 0 1
GPE                        0 0 0

USA – Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley)        9th minute

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 14-Eric Lichaj; 8-Clint Dempsey, 4-Michael Bradley (7-Maurice Edu, 85), 13-Jermaine Jones, 10-Landon Donovan; 17-Jozy Altidore (16-Sacha Kljestan, 78), 11-Chris Wondolowski (22-Alejandro Bedoya, 64)
Subs not used: 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 9-Juan Agudelo, 12-Jonathan Bornstein, 23-Marcus Hahnemann
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

GPE: 1-Franck Grandel; 5-Eddy Viator, 3-Stephane Zubar, 15-Julien Ictoi, 22-Mickael Tacalfred; 12-Thomas Gamiette, 7-Loic Loval (Cedric Collet, 25), 19-Stephane Auvray (capt.), 10-Thery Racon (9-Ludovic Gotin, 73); 21-Richard Socrier, 11-Livio Nabab (8-Dimitri Fautrai, 60)
Subs not used: 2-Miguel Comminges, 6-David Fleurival, 14-Gregory Gendrey, 16-Fabrice Mercury
Head coach: Roger Salnot

Stats Summary: USA / GPE
Shots: 21 / 5
Shots on Goal: 5 / 0
Saves: 0 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 2
Fouls: 10 / 16
Offside: 1 / 5

Misconduct Summary:
GPE – Eddy Viator (caution)             66th minute
GPE – Stephane Zubar (caution)       77
GPE – Stephane Auvray (caution)     89

Referee: Jeffrey Solis (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Luis Carmago (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Morin (MEX)
Fourth Official: Marlon Mejia (SLV)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore


Post-Game Quotes following USA-Panama in Tampa

U.S. head coach BOB BRADLEY

“On the night we weren’t good enough. In the game we had the ball early and a chance to gain control. Panama did a good job defending, and as we’re trying to open them and find spaces, we allow them the first goal. At that point their game plan becomes stronger. We still have the same approach, but the second goal makes it hard. In the second half we put a lot into it. We had some good chances, but nonetheless we weren’t sharp enough in the areas that mattered.”

On whether the heat was a factor and if there will be changes for the next game:
“I don’t think the heat was a factor. On the night we’re not sharp enough. With the fast turnaround, we’re clearly going to consider some changes and be ready to go Tuesday night in Kansas City.”

On whether the performance of the referee affected the result:
“At this time we just look at ourselves and see the areas where we think to improve in order to continue to move forward in this tournament.”

On the adjustments he made at halftime:
“We have to push the game harder, and that accounts for a lot of us pushing them back. They are ahead, so they are dropping deeper. In the first half as the game is developing, we have the ball a lot but we weren’t able to take advantage of some situations. What you don’t want to do in that situation is go down a goal. You want to keep controlling the game and controlling the ball with the idea that opportunities will come. When you put yourself behind, you make it much harder to do that.”

On what he said to the team after the game:
“We spoke quickly about some of things I said here. On the night, I don’t think it’s our best. We talk about the kind of game we were just in, and now the ability to push forward understanding that the road to move through this tournament is now a little different.”

U.S. midfielder LANDON DONOVAN
On the match:
“First of all, give Panama a lot of credit. They started the game well, took the initiative to be aggressive and made some early plays. It took us a while to get into the game and our second half was very good, but when you dig yourself a hole that deep sometimes you can’t get out of it.”

On why the team started slow:
“It’s hard to know. Sometimes you just come out flat for whatever reason. At this level and against a good team, you can’t do that. Some nights you come out flat and you don’t get punished and other nights you do. We learned a valuable lesson tonight. We have got to make sure we take that with us.”

On the team getting beaten for the first time in Gold Cup group play:
“It’s bound to happen at some point. CONCACAF teams are getting better and better. That’s a pretty good team that we played against. It’s disappointing but the reality is that it is over now and we‘ve got to learn something from it but that doesn’t help us for Tuesday. We have got to turn around and make sure that we are ready to play. We’ve got to win Tuesday, see what else happens and see where we end up. We’re still fine. We just have to make sure we learn some lessons.”

On the lessons the team learned:
“You can’t start that way. I think for some reason we were just a little lackadaisical, a little complacent early. We had some of the ball and we felt OK about ourselves, but they put us on our heels a few times and they made a play that changed the game. The penalty is a little fluky and now we’re chasing the game. We can’t start that way; that’s the overwhelming, obvious point.”

On the game:
“I think a 2-0 hole was just too big for us to get ourselves out of tonight. Nonetheless, I think the effort in the second half was very good and is something we wouldn’t like to build on, but we’re going to have to build on.”

On what the U.S. needs to do in the next game:
“To go out and play the soccer that we want to play, that we can play, and obviously to win. Nothing less than a win works for us, so we have to win the last game and go from there. It’s going to be the hard route to the final now but we’re ready for it, and we have to get this loss behind us and focus on the next game.”

What the team does from here:
“Spend as little time is possible analyzing this game, and start preparing for the next game. That starts with a good recovery tonight."

U.S. defender TIM REAM
On the start:
“We just came out slow, with not enough energy from the get go and it kind of put us on our heels. That’s what happens: if you come out slow, you are going to get punished for it.”

Comparing the first two Gold Cup matches:
“It was completely different than the way we came out against Canada in Detroit. It’s not like we were looking past this game. For whatever reason we didn’t move the ball quick enough and put enough pressure on and come out with enough energy.”

On if Panama’s style caught the U.S. off guard:
“Absolutely not. We’re used to that. It wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before and we were prepared for that coming in. I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal. We gave them three or four early chances and they put one of them away and we were behind all game. That’s going to cost you.”

U.S. Falls to Panama in Second Match of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup

  • Panama Scores Two Goals in the First Half and Holds Off Late U.S. Surge 
  • U.S. Sits in Second Place in Group C and Needs a Victory in Final Match Against Guadeloupe to Ensure Advancement to the Quarterfinals 
  • U.S. Faces Guadeloupe on Tuesday, June 14 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., Live on Fox Soccer and TeleFutura at 8 p.m. CT

TAMPA, Fla. (June 11, 2011) – The U.S. Men’s National Team lost their first ever match in CONCACAF Gold Cup group play this evening with a 2-1 loss to Panama at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The loss, which was also the first against Panama, puts the U.S. in second place with one match left to play in Group C action.

The U.S. takes on Guadeloupe on Tuesday, June 14 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. Kickoff for the match is 8 p.m. CT, and the match can be seen live on Fox Soccer and TeleFutura. Fox Soccer will also have a 30-minute pre-game show beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET (tickets).

The U.S. can clinch a spot in the quarterfinals with a victory against Guadeloupe because no other team could finish in third place in Group A or B with six points. However, there are scenarios that could have the U.S. finish in any of the four positions in the group. The U.S. could also finish as high as second in the group with a draw or even a loss, depending on the match earlier in the evening between Panama and Canada.

There are also scenarios where the U.S. ties or loses against Guadeloupe and finishes third in the group, but still advances. Those scenarios are dependent on results in Group A and B matches involving the current third and fourth place teams.

With the loss, the U.S. unbeaten record in Gold Cup group play ended at 26 games and now stands at 24-1-2 all-time. The U.S.’s record against Panama now stands at 6-1-2 all-time.

“On the night we weren’t good enough. In the game we had the ball early and a chance to gain control,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “Panama did a good job defending, and as we’re trying to open them and find spaces, we allow them the first goal. At that point their game plan becomes stronger. We still have the same approach, but the second goal makes it hard. In the second half we put a lot into it. We had some good chances, but nonetheless we weren’t sharp enough in the areas that mattered.”

Bradley selected the same starting line-up as the team’s opening match and early on it appeared the U.S. might again take the lead when Dempsey nearly finished in the eighth minute. Starting with a throw-in deep in Panama’s defensive half, Jozy Altidore challenged three defenders and the ball deflected away from goal towards Dempsey, who pounced on the loose ball and hit a fantastic one-time volley from 17 yards out that went barely wide left.

U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones had an attempt from 35 yards out that went over the bar a few minutes later, but it was a foul called against him on the defensive end that eventually led to Panama’s first goal in the 19th minute. Panama’s free kick was blocked by the U.S. wall, but the ball deflected back to Gabriel Gomez who sent a perfectly placed pass over everyone to the far post where Eduardo Dasent had lost his marker. Crashing in towards goal, Dasent bent down to head the ball on goal from the right corner of the six-yard box, but Howard was up to the challenge with a low reaction save to his right. With the ball loose inside the box, Goodson tried to get a foot to it, but Tejada got there instead and was able to direct it over the goal line from five yards out.

After going down a goal, the U.S. peppered Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo for the next 10 minutes but weren’t able to find the equalizer. After an attempt by Agudelo was easily saved by Penedo, Dempsey made things more difficult with a dipping shot from 25 yards out that forced the ‘keeper into a diving save.

Landon Donovan, who set the U.S. and CONCACAF record for the most all-time Gold Cup appearances with 24, provided a number of dangerous crosses into the penalty area from free kicks and corners. In the 26th minute, Dempsey got his head to a Donovan free kick but couldn’t get enough on it to trouble Penedo and two minutes later Goodson’s header off a corner went wide right.

Donovan had his own chance in the 30th minute when he ripped a volley from 22 yards out, but it was straight to Penedo.

While it was the U.S. pressing, Panama was able to increase their lead when defender Tim Ream was whistled for a foul on Blas Perez while trying to clear the ball near the edge of the penalty area. Referee Marco Rodriguez quickly pointed to the spot for a penalty kick and Gomez stepped up and drilled his shot high and right up the middle of the goal past a diving Howard.

Down two goals, the U.S. struggled to gain back any momentum and continued to be on the defensive early in the second half. In the 60th minute, Bradley made his first two substitutions in the game, brining Sacha Kljestan in for Jones and Alejandro Bedoya for Agudelo. While staying in a 4-4-2, Bedoya took over the left midfield position as Dempsey moved up front with Jozy Altidore.

In the 64th minute, it looked as if the U.S. was going to earn a penalty kick when Bedoya appeared to be brought down in the box by Penedo after chasing down a well-placed through ball by Donovan. Instead, Rodriguez gave a yellow card to Bedoya for diving.

Despite not getting the penalty, the U.S. continued to push forward and finally broke through three minutes later off a Donovan corner kick. Michael Bradley flicked the ball to the back post where Goodson laid out to finish from five yards into the open net. The goal was the third of Goodson’s career and his second in Gold Cup competition, with his first coming against Honduras in the 2009 semifinal.

Bradley made his last substitution in the 78th minute, bringing on forward Chris Wondolowski for Goodson and changing to a 3-4-3 in an attempt to find the equalizer.

Three minutes later, it looked as if Bradley’s tactical move would pay dividends when the U.S. put together the best passing sequence of the night. Starting deep in their defensive half, the U.S. quickly moved up the field, starting along the left sideline before switching it to the left where Donovan dribbled toward the penalty area. He slipped the ball into the box for Altidore who got around his defender and was able to put in a cross for a wide-open Wondolowski in front of goal, but the forward’s touch failed him and he skied the ball over the goal from four yards out.

The U.S. created their next great opportunity in the 90th minute with another impressive build-up. Donovan crossed the ball from the right flank to Kljestan at the top left corner of the penalty area and the midfielder quickly found Bedoya to his right. Bedoya touched the ball inside the box to Wondolowski and he touched it back for a streaking Bradley who hit a one-timer that screamed past the right post.

A minute later, Dempsey connected well on a header from seven yards out that looked destined for the upper right corner, but a sprawling save from Penedo kept it out.

The final chance came in the 92nd minute when a cross in by Steve Cherundolo deflected off Dempsey and fell to the feet of Donovan, but his one-time volley hit the outside of the side netting.

The U.S. is seeking their fifth Gold Cup title and first since 2007 when they defeated Mexico 2-1 in the final in Chicago. The winner of this year’s tournament earns a berth in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.

-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match: USA vs. Panama
Date: June 11, 2011
Competition: 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup; Group C
Venue: Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Attendance: 27,731
Weather: 85 degrees, warm

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        0 1 1
PAN                        2 0 2

PAN – Luis Tejada                                    19th minute
PAN – Gabriel Gómez (penalty kick)            36
USA –Clarence Goodson (Michael Bradley)   68

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson (11-Chris Wondolowski, 78), 15-Tim Ream, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.); 8-Clint Dempsey, 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones (16-Sacha Kljestan, 60), 10-Landon Donovan; 17-Jozy Altidore, 9-Juan Agudelo (22-Alejandro Bedoya, 61)
Subs not used: 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 7-Maurice Edu, 14-Eric Lichaj, 23-Marcus Hahnemann
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

PAN: 1-Jaime Penedo; 5-Román Torres, 14-Eduardo Dasent, 17-Luis Henríquez, 23-Felipe Baloy (capt.); 6-Gabriel Gómez, 10-Nelson Barahona (8-Gabriel Torres, 70), 11-Armando Cooper (19-Alberto Quintero, 84), 21-Amilcar Henríquez; 7-Blas Pérez, 18-Luis Tejada (22-Eybir Bonaga, 81)
Subs not used: 3-Harold Cummings, 12-Luis Mejía, 15-Eric Davis, 16-Luis Renteria
Head Coach: Julio Dely Valdes

Stats Summary: USA / PAN 
Shots: 20 / 12
Shots on goal: 4 / 5
Saves: 2 / 6
Corner Kicks: 7 / 2
Fouls: 18 / 17
Offside: 0 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Jermaine Jones (caution)        18th minute
PAN – Armando Cooper (caution)      25
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution)            25
USA – Clarence Goodson (caution)     56
USA – Alejandro Bedoya (caution)      64
PAN – Jaime Penedo (caution)           90+2
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (caution)      90+3

Referee: Marco Rodríguez (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Luis Camargo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Morín (MEX)
Fourth Official: Jeffrey Solis (CRC)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Clarence Goodson


Sturdy and solid in one-on-one defending, Lichaj is returning to the international scene after representing the United States at the youth levels. A former member of the U-17 Residency Program, he left the University of North Carolina after one season to pursue a professional career at Aston Villa. After loan spells in lower division football, he finally got a crack at the first team in 2010, but a hip injury has kept him from enjoying regular playing time in 2011.

  • Played 90 minutes in four of the U.S.’s six games in the CONCACAF Gold Cup
  • Got his first start and went 90 minutes in the 1-0 win on Nov. 17, 2010, against South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge
  • A former member of the U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, he helped the U.S. qualify for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup
  • After one year of collegiate soccer at North Carolina, he signed with Aston Villa in 2006

2011: Was a member of the U.S. roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, playing the full 90 minutes in the last four games of the competition … 2010: Debuted on Oct. 12 against Colombia, playing the final 45 minutes … Got his first start and went 90 minutes in the 1-0 win on Nov. 17 against South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge, which he described as the best moment of his young career … Under-20s: Named to the roster for 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada but missed out due to injury … Appeared in two international matches in 2006 … Under-17s – 2005: Second on the team in appearances and starts, beginning all 14 of the matches he’s played this year … Started and played all 90 minutes to help the U.S. obtain their first shutout of the year in a 4-0 victory over Haiti on April 3 … Recorded one assist … 2004: Third on the team in appearances with 41 and second on the team with 40 starts … Snagged one assist … Led the team in international appearances with 20, starting 19 … 2003: Joined U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program in September … One of the most consistent players with the U-17s, had more than 70 caps during his time in Residency … Started 13 out of the 16 appearances he made … Played and started both of the team’s international matches on the year against Brazil and Argentina, playing a total of 135 minutes … Notched one assist … First Appearance: Oct. 12, 2010, vs. Colombia … First Goal: None
2011: Returned to Aston Villa and played the full 90 minutes in the Carling Cup win against Hereford on Aug. 24, scoring the game-winning goal … Suffered a hip socket tear shortly afterward and did not feature in any other games in 2011 … 2010-11: Went on loan to Leeds United in February for the rest of the season … Made his EPL debut on Dec. 11 against West Brom … Started the next two league matches, on Dec. 26 against Tottenham and Dec. 28 against Manchester City … Made his competitive debut for Villa on Aug. 19 in a 1–1 draw in a Europa League qualifying match away to Rapid Vienna … Signed a contract extension in the summer through 2013 … 2009-10: Played six matches on loan to League Two side Lincoln City, getting six starts … Finished 2009-10 season on loan to Leyton Orient in the English League One, making nine appearances … Scored on April 17 in 2-0 against Stockport County … 2007-08: Signed with Aston Villa, spending his first two years in the reserves.

High School / Club – Played with U.S. Soccer Development Academy club Chicago Magic from 2000-03 as a forward before moving to a defender with the Illinois State Team and Region II … Was named the 2003 Y-League MVP … Never went to high school in Illinois.

Personal – Parents are Stan and Ann Lichaj, both originally from Nowy Targ, Poland … Favorite sport besides soccer is professional tennis … Has a massive DVD collection of more than 500 movies … Names Walter Payton and Peter Nowak as his childhood idols.