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U.S. Soccer Earns Big Win vs. Panama on Zusi Goal

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Make that three wins in a row for Jurgen Klinsmann and his boys.  After a 2010 of questionable results at best, the Americans are off to a solid start to 2011.  Back to back shutout wins over Venezuela and at Panama.

It was a solid effort from the young US squad.  Definitely not a work of art, but road wins are hard to come by in international soccer.  Winning on the road against an up and coming CONCACAF team.  An early goal got the Americans off on the right foot.  Zach Loyd fired in a cross that found its way to an unmarked Graham Zusi on the backpost.  Zusi slammed home his shot from just outside the six.

Otherwise the US did not mount too much offense in the opening half.  They maintained some good possession, but it rarely was able to put much pressure on the Panama goal.  Forward Teal Bunbury is just not ready for that level of play (and may never be).  Brek Shea needs to be more dynamic and tidy on the ball.

Defensively the young US backline wasn't too bad.  Panama got a few chances, but for the most part the US held them in check.  The match looked to have turned shortly after halftime when a nothing longball from the Panama defense somehow bounced its way behind the American defense.  Blas Perez raced onto the ball and in on goal.  Geoff Cameron ran him down, took the ball but sent Perez to the ground in a heap.  The referee called the foul and sent Cameron off leaving the US to play forty minutes with ten men.

With forty to play and a man down, things looked very difficult, but the US dug in.  The US set about holding onto the ball and knocking it around.  Panama, surprisingly, didn't come out and play high pressure with the man advantage.  Panama generated a couple of chances in the second half but left them begging and the US had a solid road win.

"We wanted to introduce the players to those difficult games in different environments, especially away from home outside of their comfort zone," US coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "We wanted them to come here and experience this atmosphere and a different way of doing things. I think they did very well with all that."

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