Altidore leads USMNT past Panama

first_imgJozy Altidore’s second-half goal saw the United States overcome Panama 1-0 to complete a perfect group-stage campaign at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.Altidore’s overhead kick in the 66th minute gave USA a third win from as many games in Group D, securing top spot and a quarter-final clash against Curacao.USA made 11 changes to their starting line-up and it showed, but Altidore – having squandered two great chances earlier – stepped up to secure three points in Kansas City. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? While they were unconvincing, Gregg Berhalter’s USA did enough to complete the perfect group-stage campaign.With his 42nd career international goal, @JozyAltidore puts the #USMNT up vs. ! pic.twitter.com/dTjCUMubmR— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) June 27, 2019USA made a lively start as they pushed for an opening goal and it almost came through Altidore in the 16th minute.After Panama turned over possession, Jordan Morris played in Altidore, but the striker pulled his shot wide from an angle from inside the area.Altidore squandered another chance five minutes later, the striker putting a tame shot straight at Panama goalkeeper Jose Calderon after a Cristian Roldan cutback.Jonathan Lewis was denied by an excellent Fidel Escobar block, while Jose Fajardo fired wide for Panama on the counter-attack six minutes before half-time.Both teams struggled to begin the second half, leading to the introduction of USA star Christian Pulisic just after the hour-mark.The opener followed for USA after a corner as Altidore scored his 42nd international goal.The set-piece went uncleared and some poor defending from Panama led to Altidore producing an overhead kick from close range to make it 1-0.That was all USA needed, closing out a narrow victory as neither side created much of note in the closing stages. What does it mean? Job done for USAUSA simply needed to avoid defeat to secure top spot and the easier quarter-final clash, avoiding Jamaica. Berhalter’s side got the job done despite what was an unconvincing display.Changes could hurt USAUSA were beginning to find rhythm in wins over Guyana (4-0) and Trinidad and Tobago (6-0). Still, Berhalter opted to rest what is seemingly his preferred team and it remains to be seen whether that was the right decision.Altidore goal not enoughThe Toronto striker scored, but he also missed two chances in the first half. That is unlikely to be enough to earn him a start ahead of Gyasi Zardes, who has three goals at the tournament.What’s next?Both teams will play in Philadelphia on Sunday. USA take on Curacao, while Panama face Jamaica. read morelast_img

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