The US sported a new formation Wednesday night in Panama City, but Klinsmann saw a similar lackluster performance from his squad. Despite the unorganized mess the US put forth on the pitch, they did come away with the result with Graham Zusi providing the lone goal of the match. It was the Yanks 3rd 1-0 win in the Klinsmann era out of the 4 victories the German born coach has accumulated thus far and only the US' 7th goal in 9 matches played in this stretch of games I like to call the "goal-less friendlies". To put it lightly the US have had trouble scoring.
In case you missed the match I will quickly breakdown what you missed, although you didn't miss much trust me....
- Klinsmann opted to align his squad in a 4-4-2 formation, instead of his popularized 4-3-3
- The starting lineup was as follows: (Rimando; DeLaGraza, Cameron, Parkhurst, Loyd; Zusi, Clark, Jones, Shea; Wondolowski, Bunbury)
- GOAL! 1-0 US. Both teams started off slow until the 9th minute when Graham Zusi was given a late New Years present. Zach Loyd started it all of by swinging in a dangerous cross into the box. Wondolowski attempted to get his head on the cross and may have barely succeeded but ultimately the ball landed on the heels of Teal Bunbury. Bunbury luckily knocked it to Zusi, who was left completely unmarked from about 7 yards from goal. The goalie rushed out to Zusi, but Zusi made no doubt about it and slammed the ball home.
Check out Zusi's goal...
- Then the Nick Rimando show began. Rimando looked like Tim Howard on steroids tonight. Rimando first saved a break-away attempt by Luis Renteria, however the ball started to trickle by Rimand towards goal. Rimando didn't care though as he scampered on all fours to swat the rolling sphere away from goal. Rimando went on to make dazzling save after dazzling save to keep the US ahead, even covering for his own blunder on one occasion.
- Jermaine Jones tried to do it all tonight with little help in the midfield as Ricardo Clark well was Ricardo Clark and didn't do much. Jones sent an absolute screaming towards the net from distance in the 31st which was batted up in the air by the keeper. Chris Wondolowski followed up with a header but his effort was brilliantly saved as well.
- Right before the half, Jurgen Klinsmann made a STATMENT and made a tactical move subbing out defender Zach Loyd, who was having a horrendous game. Loyd came out in the 41st minute after getting torched on several occassions down the wing and giving the ball away numerous times. Heath Pearce came on to take Loyd's place.
- The 52nd minute marked the last exciting moment of the match when US center-back Geoff Cameron saw straight red. A long ball over the top found Blas Perez (new member of FC Dallas) streaking towards goal and as Cameron raced back to stop the attack he tripped up Perez. Luckily for Klinsmann and company the fould came at the very edge of the area, however, Cameron still saw red for preventing Perez's clear path toward goal. Panama ended up doing nothing with the free kick but the Yanks had to play the rest of the match with 10 men.
- Wondolowski was subbed out for Seattle Sounders defender Jeff Parke in order to account for Cameron's dismissal. Remember Parke was one of the two players added late to Klinsmann's camp after George John and Omar Gonzalez left to pursue Euro offers. Brad Evans was the other player to join the squad late.
- The rest of the match dragged on in an uneventful manner as the US attempted to hold on to their one goal lead behind a 10-man squad. Panama's best and final chance of the night occurred in the 86th minute with who other than Blas Perez, a USMNT killer, missing a wide open scoring chance from 7 yards out. Perez curled his shot wide of goal while 2nd half US goalie Sean Johnson was out of position after charging off his line to save Panama's first effort of the sequence. The US survived that last chance and then hung on in stoppage time to win 1-0.
- USMNT Subs Used: Heath Pearce, Sean Johnson, Jeff Parke, Brad Evans, Jeff Larentowicz, CJ Sapong
- USMNT Subs Not Used: Benny Feilhaber
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