The USA-Panama Gold Cup Opener Was Like Watching a Glorified Friendly

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The last four matches between the USA and Panama have ended in 1-1 ties.

"We didn't play well on the day", he said in the opening remarks of his post-game press conference. The winners of the four last-eight ties will progress to the semis, with the tournament concluding on 26 July with the match for third place and the final.

"I see myself as being a good link between the younger players on the team and the older, more experienced, players", said the Islander. "We want to continue to build on what we started in January and improve the program". In other words, we shouldn't go assuming Villafana's defensive hiccups lately will cost him his starting job. "We have to be fairly consistent". A record 47,662 fans watched team US play Panama Saturday at Gold Cup match inside Nissan Stadium. "In some ways, we have a new identity with this team, some new players".

Still lots of soccer left to be played. The composure he showed on both goals - the first on a breakaway when he was played clean on the French Guiana net by Cavallini, and the second a sharp finish off of a setup from Jackson-Hamel - was that of a seasoned veteran, not an inexperienced teenager. "In the second half the game got away from us a little bit, and we lost our way at times".

Bedoya is part of the USA team, ranked 35th in the world, that will play without stars such as Christian Pulisic, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron and Clint Dempsey.

Per tournament rules, teams can make up to six changes to the roster after the end of the Group Stage. The three stadiums to be used in the Group A games are the only soccer-specific stadiums to be used in the tournament.

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They came back Saturday but it was all over in minutes as the U.S. 24th seed broke serve. "My opponent was good today". The American wept as she relived the sickening injury which has left her facing surgery to fix a dislocated knee.

With tougher tests looming against CONCACAF powerhouses Costa Rica (next Tuesday in Houston) and Honduras (Friday in Dallas), the Reds had to take care of business against French Guiana if they are to have any chance of advancing to the knockout round.

So maybe we were too quick to anoint Kellyn Acosta as the ready-for-primetime option who could step into the USA full-strength squad at the age of 21. Still, their Gold Cup team is an overwhelming favorite to win Group C, facing the likes of El Salvador, Curacao and Jamaica.

Dynamo forward Erick Torres was named to Mexico's team as an injury substitution. Former Chelsea man and French worldwide, Florent Malouda, will play for French Guiana for this Gold Cup as he's eligible to play for Guiana despite having played 80 times for France because French Guiana are not an official Federation Internationale de Football Association member.

Panama finally broke through in the 60th minute against an unorganized USA defense. Los Canaleros have yet to qualify for their first World Cup finals though, although they stand a decent chance of booking a ticket to Russian Federation. Mexico is coming off of a disappointing performance in Russian Federation, and will similarly rest their top talent for Gold Cup.

Still, all that being said, who actually wins the Gold Cup will probably come down to the big three.