Nashville, TN. - 47,622 fans filled up Nissan Stadium on Saturday to watch USA and Panama play to a scrappy 1-1 draw in the opening match of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
USA - among the favorites to win the competition - got off to a slow start in Nashville. The group, however, looked solid defensively as one would expect with Bruce Arena at the helm.
Panama, aside from a few half chances, failed to really threaten Brad Guzan and the American defense in the first half. The same could be said for USA’s lack of chance creation on Jose Calderon’s goal in the first 45 minutes.
Things began to heat up in the second half.
Some clever work down the left by New England Revolution’s Kelyn Rowe freed up enough space to hit a low cross into the area. Using his poacher’s instinct, USA striker Dom Dwyer slithered into a shooting position and struck the Rowe cross first time into the bottom right corner of the net.
Dwyer’s clinical finish put the Americans ahead in the 50th minute; a lead which was short-lived as Panama turned up the pressure being a goal down.
In-form Miguel Camargo equalized for the Panamanians in the 60th minute. The goal came during a hectic flurry of activity inside Brad Guzan’s box.
With USA’s defense on its heels, the Atlanta United goalkeeper was called into action on numerous occasions. After robbing Gabriel Torres’ point blank effort, Miguel Camargo pounced on the rebound and struck the ball past a sprawling Guzan; who was able to get a fingertip on the ball but not keep it out of his net.
The match in Music City would end 1-1 after each team used all three of their available substitutions. It marked the fourth consecutive meeting between the teams ending in a stalemate.
Bruce Arena and the Americans are now preparing to face a dangerous Martinique team which ousted Nicaragua 2-0 in their Group B opener.
Steeven Langil was subbed into the match in the 65th minute with his team up 1-0. Langil wears the #10 for his nation and immediately lived up to the status of his kit numeration. On the field for just 60 seconds, Langil was able to escape the Nicaraguan defense and use his lightning quick pace to dash into the penalty area. After a neat touch to open up more space, the Martinique game-changer unleashed a shot which flew past the keeper into the top shelf.
Whether he starts or comes off the bench, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, and the American defense will have to be aware of Langil at all times to limit his impact.
Match: USA v. Martinique - Group B
Kickoff: Wednesday, July 17th at 9:00 PM
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL