The United States slumped to a fourth place finish at the 2015 Gold Cup. Panama defeated the Americans on penalties after a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes in Saturday's third place to cap a terrible tournament for the U.S.
This was the second-worst finish for the U.S. in Gold Cup history. The only other time they failed to finish in the top three game in 2000, when they won their group, but went out to Colombia in the quarterfinals. This also marks the first time that the Americans have gone winless in consecutive Gold Cup matches.
The first half was an abject joke. Both teams were atrocious, nothing happened and if they canceled the game at halftime then everyone would have been much, much happier. There was nothing whatsoever that was the least bit entertaining and, considering the match didn't mean anything, it was unclear why it had to continue on.
The real reason they had to play this match was this was another check for CONCACAF to cash, so cash the did, and at least the second half gave us reason to watch.
Unfortunately for the U.S., all the action after the break came from Panama. They bombarded the U.S. defense and John Brooks looked hopeless. The Panamanians abused him time and time again, while the midfield provided little shield. Eventually, the midfield let Panama through and Roberto Nurse turned Brooks inside out before slotting him a finish to put the Canaleros in front.
Between the goal, two shots cleared off the line and several other Panama shots going just wide, the U.S. looked like they were about to get buried. But they kept it at 1-0 and then found a way forward themselves.
DeAndre Yedlin latched onto a ball in the box and did an excellent job corralling it, holding it and then laying it off for a wide open Clint Dempsey. The Panamanian goalkeeper, who had come out because he didn't think Yedlin would handle things, was way out of position and Dempsey had a wide open net to knock the ball into.
Just because the U.S. got even didn't mean the match changed. Panama still controlled play and had all the chances. Only a good save by Brad Guzan kept them from winning the match in regular time and several other chances went just wide of the U.S. net.
Extra time was a complete bore. A mini-scuffle with a few pushes was the only exciting moment so the match went to penalties.
The U.S. fell behind on penalties when Fabian Johnson's shot skied over the bar. Guzan followed with a save to get the Americans even again, but Michael Bradley had his penalty saved and from there, the U.S. were on the back foot. By the fifth round, the U.S. need DaMarcus Beasley to convert his spot kick just to keep the shootout going, but his shot was stopped and the Americans' dreadful tournament was complete.