February 8, 2015
By Scoot French
U.S. ENDS WINLESS SKID
2-0 win over Panama ends 5-game slide
LA Soccer News Contributing Editor
CARSON, Calif. - Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey scored first-half goals, and the U.S. national team ended a five-game winless streak Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 victory over Panama in front of 20,271 fans at StubHub Center.
|Clint Dempsey capped the scoring as the US Men beat Panama 2-0 Sunday at the StubHub Center.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Galaxy attacker Gyasi Zardes, making his second international appearance and first start for the U.S., highlighted a fine performance on the right flank by setting up Dempsey's goal.
Bradley, playing a holding-midfield role in a 4-2-3-1 alignment, spearheaded the U.S. attack, scoring directly from a corner kick to provide the advantage midway through the first half and creating several chances for teammates.
Miguel Ibarra, a UC Irvine product starring in the second-tier NASL, also made his first international start, playing on the left flank, and D.C. United's Perry Kitchen and FC Dallas' Matt Hedges made their debuts off the bench in the second half.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann used a four-man backline after going with a three-man unit in the first half of a 3-2 loss to Chile 11 days earlier, and although Panama's pressure forced too much scrambling in the first half, the defense was strong while posting its first shutout since an early-September victory over the Czech Republic.
Bradley scored in the 27th minute, bending a corner kick from the left into the upper-right corner, just over a leaping Jozy Altidore's head.
Dempsey doubled the advantage in the 37th, finishing from Zardes' ball into the box after the Galaxy star collected a loose ball in midfield, found space and burst forward. Dempsey beat an onrushing Penedo on the dribble, then pushed the ball into the net for his 40th international goal.