How did the U.S. do in their first match against the team that beat them in the Gold Cup? A gritty 1-0 win is how they responded. And they did it down a man for most of the second half. It was a gritty win for a team that needed a win on the road. It also showed that young players for the U.S. could go on the road, score, and then defend a paper thin lead against a tough, attacking opponent.
The U.S. opened the scoring with Graham Zusi's first international goal in the 8th minute. And that goal was all the U.S. needed to win. Panama and the U.S. see sawed back and forth in the first half, neither side scoring, but still threatening.
That changed in the second half. in the 52nd minute, Geoff Cameron drew a red card for the U.S. for pushing Blas Perez just outside the penalty box. Down a man, the U.S. clamped down defensively. Goalie Nick Rimando had a stellar game in net, making impressive saves in the first half to keep Panama scoreless.
The bright side for the low scoreline for the U.S.? Most of their 1st team players remained with their European teams for this trip. which means that the U.S. has reliable players to fill in should someone get hurt. It also means that the U.S. attacking power will increase when the U.S. gets their first team players back.