On July 12, 2023, at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California, the USA and Panama played in the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal match. The game was fiercely contested, with both teams creating opportunities.
Brenden Aaronson gave the USA the lead in the 22nd minute. On the edge of the penalty box, Aaronson received the ball and struck a low shot into the bottom corner. The USA maintained control of possession and produced a number of further opportunities, but they were unable to extend their lead.
Ivan Anderson scored the equaliser for Panama in the 70th minute as the team came out stronger in the second half. Anderson struck a low shot past custodian Matt Turner after latching onto a long ball that went over the top of the USA defence. The intention was to wake up the USA, and they did so by offering additional opportunities. They couldn’t determine a winner in the allotted time, though.
Both teams had chances to win during the extra time that was added to the game. The finest opportunity for the USA came in the 108th minute, but Luis Meja of Panama stopped Christian Roldan’s close-range attempt.
Panama scored on all three of its penalties in the shootout, compared to the USA’s one missed opportunity. Gyasi Zardes missed the USA’s penalty, going wide.
As a result, on July 16, Panama will play Mexico in the Gold Cup final. The next opportunity for the USA to compete for their third Gold Cup title won’t come until 2026.
The following are some salient lessons learned from the game:
- Christian Pulisic, who suffered an injury against Canada in the quarterfinal, was absent for the USA. One of the USA’s most crucial players, Pulisic, was missing from the game.
- Panama was a well-run, orderly country. They well guarded, preventing the USA from creating many opportunities.
- The game was really violent. Numerous fouls were committed by both teams, and numerous players received yellow cards.
- It was a thrilling and stressful penalty shootout. Although both sides had chances to win, Panama ultimately prevailed.
It was a successful contest overall between two evenly matched teams. The USA will be sad that they didn’t make it to the final, but Panama deserved to win that evening.
Here are a few players from each side who stood out:
- Brenden Aaronson (USA): On the night, Aaronson was the USA’s top performer. He led the attack with vigour and originality, and he also scored the goal for the USA.
- Ivan Anderson (Panama): Anderson was the evening’s unsung hero for Panama. In the shootout, he scored the tying goal and successfully converted his penalty.
- Luis Meja (Panama): Meja performed superbly in net for Panama. He made a number of stops to keep the USA out and was crucial in the penalty shootout.
The USA, who were the favourites to win the Gold Cup, were let down by the game. But Panama deserved to win, and they will challenge Mexico in the championship game.
The game demonstrated the improvement of Panamanian soccer. In recent years, Panama has made steady progress and is presently among the best CONCACAF sides. In the future, they will be a force to be feared.
I hope you liked reading about the match in more depth.🙂