Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan embrace after the goal that gave the USA a 1-0 victory over Panama. Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography, Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2011 TexSport Publications
HOUSTON, TEXAS (June 22, 2011) After an uninspiring 75 minutes of play at Reliant Stadium, the USA scored in the 76 minute to give the USA a 1-0 win over Panama in the first semi-final game of CONCACAF Gold Cup 2011.
The USA’s Clint Dempsey was advancing on the goal when Landon Donovan fed him a pass from the right side.
He shot from inside the box; drilling the ball past Panama goalkeeper Jamie Penedo for the score
Most of the game was relatively uninspiring, with the USA five shots on goal and Panama attempting eight.
Fouls were abundant during the game with the whistle sounding 21 times against the United States.
Panama was cited 10 times for fouls.
The best action up to the start of the second half was a half naked fan running across the playing field of Reliant Stadium, waving his shirt to the soccer aficionados before security removed him.
He was handed over to Houston police and headed for a suspected night in jail.
It was a good thing the half of him that was naked was his upper torso; as it may have made a rough night in the lockup if he had been naked below the waist.
The offense of both teams looks sluggish and it appears the USA is trying to come back from their earlier loss to Panama 2-1 in Group C action.
Both teams seemed uninspired with lackluster play and locus seeming to be lacking.
It was obvious, at least to any person who is remotely knowledgeable about soccer that one or possibly both teams were wishing the game would be over.
A small scuffle occurred in extra time, when USA's Jermaine Jones took a foot to the face; delivered by Panama's Luis Renteria.
Several USA players jumped to Jones' defense and care, which prompted a small shoving match between various USA players and Renteria.
The officials quickly intervened and no cards were issued.
The USA now advances to the finals to play the winner of the Mexico-Honduras.
The "Half Naked" fan is apprehended by Reliant Stadium security before being handed over to Houston Police. Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography, Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.
If the Red, White, and Blue hope to win the championship of Gold Cup 2011, they had better play with more intensity and focus that they did against Panama.
If not, they will earn their second loss in Gold Cup 2011 play in two weeks.
That would not bode well for the players and coaches alike.