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U.S. Men Move on to Gold Cup Semifinals With 2-1 Overtime Victory Against Panama


PHILADELPHIA (July 18 2009) — The U.S. Men’s National Team got a stunning strike from Kyle Beckerman and a penalty kick in overtime from Kenny Cooper to defeat Panama 2-1 this evening at Lincoln Financial Field and advance to the semifinals of the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The U.S. will face Honduras in the semifinals on Thursday, July 23 at 6 p.m. CT at Soldier Field in Chicago. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel, TeleFutura and the Futbol de Primera Radio Network. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and Twitter.

The U.S. fell behind when Panama capitalized on a corner kick during injury time of the first half, but Beckerman struck back early in the second half for the equalizer. Cooper, who came on for Davy Arnaud in the 77th minute, was fouled inside the penalty area late in the first overtime. Cooper took the spot kick himself, placing it just past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, off the post and in for the game-winner.

“It was a challenge to the team to be in that spot at halftime and I still felt good that the response was strong,” said U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley. “When we didn't finish the game in regulation, you still got a sense the mentality was "we're going to take care of this thing. The players deserve a lot of credit for that."

The match, which was a rematch of a 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal, saw several starters from the first two matches return to the lineup, including Beckerman who had only come on in reserve against Haiti.

The U.S. applied pressure from opening whistle, finding success through combination play, particularly down the left flank. In the eighth minute, forward Brian Ching nearly got the early goal for the U.S. with a header. Rising up to meet a Stuart Holden cross, the Hawaiian put the header towards the right side of the net with power, but agonizingly saw it hit the post.

One minute later, another cross from the right side landed among three U.S. players on the far post, but none of them managed to get a clean touch on the service and the ball skipped wide.

After surviving the initial attack, Panama settled in after the quarter hour mark and began to try and push forward. Offensively, their attempts at playing balls into the U.S. area were mostly swallowed up by center backs Jimmy Conrad and Chad Marshall, along with goalkeeper Troy Perkins, and overall the match slowed down for large periods of the half as the teams fought to keep possession.

A frightening collision occurred just before halftime when Conrad, wearing the captain’s band, went up for a header on a U.S. corner and knocked heads with a Panamanian defender. Clearly shaken, Conrad was helped to his feet and taken off the field, forcing Bradley to make an early substitution and bring on Clarence Goodson to replace him.

Goodson was immediately thrown into the fire since Panama earned a corner kick as the first half came close to its end. The corner was sent into the middle of the box and flicked on towards the far post by Goodson’s mark, Felipe Beloy. Bouncing off Holden, who couldn’t control the ball or clear it from danger, the loose ball was blasted into the roof of the net by Blas Perez to give the central american side the lead going into halftime. 

Coming out in the second half with aggression, the U.S. got right down to the business of tying the match. In the 49th minute, Robbie Rogers sent a floater to back post. With no clear shot on goal, Arnaud played the ball back seemingly looking for Holden but it was out of his reach but provided a perfect set-up for Beckerman just inside the penalty area and he unloaded a rocket to the upper right corner. The goal marked Beckerman’s first in seven appearances for the full team, making him the eighth different goal scorer for the U.S. in the 2009 Gold Cup.

“The ball went out wide and was sent across. I gambled a little bit just thinking it may pop out to the top of the box,” said Beckerman. “Sometimes you gamble and sure enough the ball finds your foot.”

Keeping the pressure on, a low shot by Holden in the 53rd minute almost gave the U.S. the lead, but his well-taken attempt went just wide of the left post.

The U.S. was back in the Panama box in the 67th minute off a long throw from Heath Pearce. Headed up in the air by the Panamanian defense, the attempted clearance fell to Rogers. Taking a full volley attempt, the shot was right to goalkeeper Penedo, who gave up no rebound.

Hard running by Pearce kept a U.S. attack alive in the 80th minute when he slid along the left sideline to keep an errant pass inbounds. Getting up, Pearce sent a cross into the near post, where Cooper almost made an immediate impact with a good look on goal, but his header went wide.

A few more ambitious attempts by Cooper provided little worry for Penedo, and with the Panama attack almost non-existent in the second half, the game went into overtime.

Ten minutes into overtime, the U.S. played beautiful soccer to earn a great attempt on goal. Combining up the field, simple passing between Pierce, Beckerman, Rogers and Ching, allowed Pearce to get open on the left side of the box. Pearce blasted his shot on frame, but Penedo dove to his right and made the save of the night to deny the U.S. the lead.

Five minutes later, the U.S. got the game-winner from the foot of Cooper. Looking for the towering forward, Holden struck a pass into the top of the box. Attempting to collect, Cooper was kicked high in his chest by defender Roman Torres. With a perfect view of the foul, referee Benito Archundia wasted no time in pointing to the spot and giving a yellow card to Torres.

Stepping up to take his own penalty, Cooper hesitated on the run-up before placing the ball perfectly on the inside left post and into the goal. Penedo guessed correctly, but the bottom corner shot was just out of reach. It was Cooper’s third career goal for the U.S. and first penalty strike.

“It’s fortunate any time you can get a penalty,” said Cooper. “It obviously came at a good time in overtime. Fortunately, it snuck in and the guys did great to hold on defensively.”

Expecting Panamanian pressure for the final minutes of the match, Bradley made his final substitution of the night to bring on Brad Evans for Rodgers in the 110th minute. The expected attack came, but was often reduced to long balls and crosses sent into the box that Perkins dealt with confidently.


U.S. Men's National Team Match Report

Match: United States vs. Panama
Date: July 18, 2009
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup – Quarterfinal
Venue: Lincoln Financial Field - Philadelphia
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Attendance: 31,087
Weather: Sunny, 75 degrees

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

PAN – Blas Perez                                           46+ minute
USA – Kyle Beckerman (Davy Arnaud)       49
USA – Kenny Cooper (penalty kick)            105

Lineups:
USA:  1-Troy Perkins; 16-Jay Heaps, 4-Chad Marshall, 12-Jimmy Conrad (capt.) (3-Clarence Goodson, 46+), 2-Heath Pearce; 10-Stuart Holden, 8-Logan Pause, 5-Kyle Beckerman, 7-Robbie Rogers (21-Brad Evans, 110); 11-Brian Ching, 22-Davy Arnaud (17-Kenny Cooper, 77)
Subs not used: 13-Colin Clark, 15-Sam Cronin, 18-Luis Robles, 20-Santino Quaranta
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

PAN: 1-Jaime Penedo; 5-Roman Torres, 23-Felipe Baloy (capt ), 14-Armando Gun; 3-Luis Moreno, 6-Gabriel Gomez, 16-Manuel Torres, 20-Rolando Escobar (15-Ricardo Phillips, 78), 10-Nelson Barahona (11-Victor Herrera, 96); 9-Jose Luis Garces, 7-Blas Perez
Subs not used: 2-Carlos Rivera; 8-Alberto Blanco, 12-Oscar McFarlane, 18-Luis Tejada,  21-Amilcar Henriquez
Head Coach: Gary Stempel

Stats Summary: USA / PAN           
Shots: 16 / 3
Shots on Goal: 6 / 1
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 19 / 20
Offside: 0 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Jimmy Conrad (caution)        11th minute
PAN – Blas Perez (caution)               25
PAN - Felipe Baloy (caution)             63
PAN – Roman Torres (caution)        104
PAN - Jaime Penedo (caution)         106
PAN - Felipe Baloy (caution)             120
PAN – Felipe Baloy (sent off)            120
PAN - Luis Tejada (sent off)               120

Officials:
Referee: Armando Archundia (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Hector Delgadillo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Luis Camargo (MEX)
Fourth Official: Walter Quesada (CRC)

ussoccer.com  Man of the Match:
Kyle Beckerman

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