Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Zusi Goal Leads US Over Panama

The US "Camp Cupcake" roster closed out their camp down in Panama today with a 1-0 win thanks to a goal by Sporting KC midfielder, Graham Zusi. Like the game on Saturday against Venezuela, both Zusi and Teal Bunbury started for the United States, while CJ Sapong found himself starting on the bench. The US got a good start, as Zusi finished off a chance in the 8th minute to give the US a 1-0 lead. Zach Loyd played the ball into the box, where Bunbury had overrun the ball. The ball hit the back of Bunbury's heal and fell right into the path of Zusi who one timed his shot past the keeper and into the net for his first international goal.

After the goal it became somewhat of the Nick Rimando show as the US defense struggled for long periods of time in the first half and Rimando had to come up with some big saves to preserve the USA's 1-0 lead. The US did have 1 other great chance those as Jermaine Jones fired in a blast from long range that the Panamanian keeper had to just knock into the air. Chris Wondolowski closed in on the rebound but somehow the keeper recovered in time to knock the ball away before it crossed the line. But the first half man of the match was easily Rimando who came to the US' rescue numerous times.

Things got worse for the US in the second half as they tried to weather the Panama attack as Geoff Cameron received a red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity for Panama. The Panamanian went down a little easy, but welcome to CONCACAF refereeing Jurgen Klinsmann. In the second half it wasn't so much that Sean Johnson, who came on for Rimando, had to come up big, but Blais Perez missed some good chances for Panama to tie the game.

For the Sporting KC players, besides the goal, Zusi had a strong game and was one of the bright spots for the US, especially in the first half, he made way in the 66th minute for a more defensive minded player in Brad Evans. Bunbury in his second start struggled once again, especially with his first touch. He's been playing himself off the national team radar it would seem with this play. Bunbury made way for teammate Sapong in the 76th minute. Sapong once again didn't have much opportunity to do much, especially as a lone forward for a team down to 10 men. Sapong though did a decent job of trying to hold up the ball when he got the opportunity to, but his chances were hurt by the fact that the US was playing with 10 men. Those 3 will now return to KC, but according to Peter Vermes earlier today, those 3 will not be at training until the team leaves for Arizona.


bfos said...

Bunbury's play should be no surprise to Sporting fans. He looks very much the same as last year. Unless he's got the ball facing goal with space, he's not going to provide much.

hartley said...

Teal is really not the center forward, holding type. He has feet of concrete with his back to the goal. That's why I was surprised CJ didn't start or come on at the half. CJ can hold and keep play going. He would have helped possession so much last night.

The officiating was absolutely horrible. But this is a good test for these players since that is what you will get in these types of games for WC qualifying.

I was pleasantly surprised at how the U.S. improved its play after going a man down. They started to control and possess the ball more with the simple and quick passes they should always be using.