The United States will take on Panama in the Gold Cup final and to make matters tougher, they will be without their suspended manager. If only this was something new for the Americans.
Eight years ago, the U.S. was in the exact same situation. They were set for a date with a Canaleros team playing its best soccer in years with the confederation championship on the line, but their manager had been barred from the match. Then, it was Bruce Arena whose outburst in the semifinal left him on the stands for the final, while this time around it is Jurgen Klinsmann who has found himself on the outs, but if the result is the same, the German won't mind missing the final.
After a rough and tumble 90 minutes at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, the U.S. and Panama were goal-less and 30 minutes of extra time didn't change it. To penalties they went...
No manager, no problem. The U.S. had claimed the Gold Cup, just like they would two years later.
And the goalkeeper who made the first penalty save and scared two more penalties out of the goal? Kasey Keller, the man who will be on the bench coaching the American keepers on Sunday.
The U.S. has done this before. Just ask Keller.