VALPARAISO, Chile (Nov. 1, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s Pan American Team dropped a hard-fought 1-0 result to host Chile in the semifinals of the 2023 Pan American Games. Playing in front of a raucous home crowd, the USA held strong for 57 minutes before Cesar Perez scored on a highlight-reel free kick that proved the difference.
With the result, the U.S. will face Mexico in the Bronze Medal Match on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 12 p.m. ET. Fielding its first men’s soccer team at the Pan American Games since 2007, the U.S. is aiming for its best finish since taking bronze at Winnipeg 1999 with a squad that featured future senior USMNT stalwarts Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra.
While Chile held the better of possession throughout the afternoon, goalkeeper Antonio Carrera and the U.S. defense did well to keep the host nation off the board for the majority of the match. Carrera made three saves on the day, including a nice diving stop on a shot inside the box in the 50th minute before defender Alexander Freeman cleared the rebound out of danger.
La Roja found its winner in the 57th on a free kick from just outside the top right corner of the box following a hard foul by defender Thomas Williams. Perez hit a curling ball to the top left corner and the leaping Carrera was unable to make the save.
Every U.S. match at the Pan American Games has been a battle, as the game-deciding goal in all four games has come in the 57th minute or later. In total, the U.S. has trailed for only 90 of 360 minutes and never by more than one goal.
The Pan American Games, a continental multi-sport event for North and South America, have featured a variety of age restriction rules for soccer since their launch in 1951. As the Pan American Games are held the year before the Olympics, all nations are now restricted to bringing under-22 players, aligning with the under-23 age restriction at the Olympics. U.S. head coach Michael Nsien brought three players born in 2002, five born in 2003, five born in 2004 and five born in 2005.
The United States qualified for the Pan Am Games with its dominant title-winning performance at the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship. The U.S. won the tournament for the third-straight time, clinching its first men’s Olympic berth since 2008 in the process. Four teams from Concacaf qualified to the Pan American Games, the U-20 Championship winner (USA) plus the best team from each of the confederation’s three sub-regions- Caribbean (Dominican Republic), Central America (Honduras) and North America (Mexico).
This year marks the U.S. men’s 13th appearance over 19 editions of the Pan American Games. The red, white and blue took home gold at the 1991 tournament in Havana, Cuba with the likes of future USMNT legends like Cobi Jones, Kasey Keller and Claudio Reyna. The USA also reached the podium in its tournament debut at Chicago 1959 and at Winnipeg 1999.
-U.S. MEN’S PAN AMERICAN TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Men’s Pan American Soccer Team vs. Chile
Date: Nov. 1, 2023
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
Competition: 2023 Pan American Games Semifinal
Venue: Estadio Elias Figueroa; Valparaiso, Chile
Weather: 52 degrees, cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
CHI 0 1 1
CHI – Cesar Perez 57th minute
USA: 12-Antonio Carrera; 4-Nicola Carrera (Capt.), 5-Thomas Williams, 6-Daniel Leyva (18-Javier Casas Jr., 68), 7-Jackson Hopkins (14-Vaughn Covil, 86), 8-Brooklyn Raines, 9-Theodore Ku-DiPietro (17-Rodrigo Neri, 68), 11-Tega Ikoba, 13-Alexander Freeman, 15-Sergio Oregel (10-Jack Panayotou, 60), 16-Nolan Norris
Substitutes not used: 1-Chituru Odunze, 2-Mauricio Cuevas, 3-Michael Wentzel
Head coach: Michael Nsien
CHI: 1-Brayan Cortes, 2-Jonathan Villagra, 4-Daniel Gutierrez, 5-Matias Zaldivia, 6-Vicente Pizarro, 7-Maximiliano Guerrero (8-Cesar Fuentes, 88), 9-Alexander Aravena (11-Clemente Montes, 83), 13-Alfred Canales, 16-Felipe Loyola, 17-Cesar Perez, 18-Damian Pizarro
Substitutes not used: 12-Tomas Ahumada, 3-Bruno Gutierrez, 10-Lucas Assadi, 14-Julian Alfaro, 15-Antonio Diaz
Head coach: Eduardo Berizzo
Stats Summary: USA / CHI
Shots: 0 / 8
Shots on Goal: 0 / 4
Saves: 3 / 0
Corner Kicks: 3 / 5
Offside: 2 / 0
USA – Sergio Oregel (Caution) 43rd minute
USA – Thomas Williams (Caution) 55
CHI – Alfred Canales (Caution) 68
CHI – Bench (Caution) 70
USA – Tega Ikoba (Caution) 80
CHI – Clemente Montes (Caution) 90
Referee: Juan Lopez (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Julio Aranda (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Luis Onieva (PAR)
Fourth Official: Jose Uzcategui (VEN)