It was another uninspiring performance by the US, but they still got a suitable result. They returned to a lineup similar to the opener against Honduras. The squad however struggled not holding possession and allowing Panama to pressure them and eventually creating chances including an offside goal before they eventually broke through when Luis Tejada setup Blas Perez with an easy tap in.
The US brought on Dempsey and Yedlin at halftime and their play generally improved and they got the breakthrough 10 minutes after haltime. Zardes and Dempsey played a nice one-two pass before Dempsey played the ball outwide to Bedoya who found Bradley with a nice run that he easily finished. After that, the US were in the ascendancy and while they conceded some dangerous counter attacks, they looked the most likely to win it heading into the second half.
Based on the performances, I am expecting the following lineup for the knockout rounds. Guzan, Chandler, Alvarado, Brooks, Johnson, Yedlin, Beckerman, Bradley, Bedoya, Zardes, Dempsey. Personally, I would play Omar Gonzalez over Alvarado, but Brooks and Alvarado seem to be Klinsmann’s pair.
Here are my player ratings.
He made a number of good saves and didn’t spill any rebounds.
He struggled again defensively going for risky interceptions that caught him out of position. Offensively, he often didn’t connect either which made it harder for him to be in good defensive position.
He showed good covering ability, but he was easily turned on the goal and in general still has little things he needs to improve in his one on one defending.
It was a steady performance by Brooks. He dealt with the physicality of the Panama front line well, but still could work on his distribution.
He continues to be the most consistent defender. He is rarely out of position and adds a good instincts when attacking.
He was pretty anonymous and didn’t add anything as they were overrun in midfield. It seems unlikely for him any minutes of significance in the rest of the tournament.
His distribution was okay with some rough patches, but his ability to close down the space in front of the defense may be a concern as counter attacks have been more effective than usual during this tournament.
He made good runs of support from defense one of which ended up in a goal. His link-up with Dempsey and the forwards still seems a bit off.
His major contribution was the assist on the goal, but his composure and two way ability added better balance to the US side. He went 70 minutes so fitness may be a question still for him.
He was terrible in the first half as he made almost no impact. The second half when he moved to the front line saw him test the backline and make smart runs to stretch the defense.
He lacked the dynamic playmaking ability or speed to really test Panama. Unfortunately for him, he is likely at the bottom of the pecking order of forwards at the tournament.
It was another solid performance. He came close to setting up some goals, but things always seemed to be a step off although he seems most comfortable with Zardes as his partner.
His pace certainly bothered the defense and helped pin back the Panamanian left back who was giving problems to Chandler. He didn’t get behind the defense as much as one might have hoped.
He has good instincts but things just didn’t quite work out for him. He couldn’t really get into a rhythm as he was consistently called for fouls (some legitimate, some non-existent).