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U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

July 18, 2009
SEMIFINAL BOUND
Cooper's PK lifts U.S. over Panama, 2-1


Kenny Cooper converted a penalty kick to give the U.S. a 2-1 win.
Kenny Cooper converted a penalty kick to give the U.S. a 2-1 win.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Philadelphia -- U.S. forward Kenny Cooper showed he can stomach the pressure.

After he was kicked in the stomach by Panama's Roman Torres in the penalty area, Cooper converted the ensuing penalty kick in stoppage time in the first extratime to lift the Americans to a 2-1 win in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals Saturday night.

Cooper ran up to the ball, hesitated for a moment, then sent his shot off the left post and the U.S. into a semifinal meeting with Honduras in Chicago on Thursday night. The Hondurans edged Canada in the first game of the doubleheader at Lincoln Financial Field, 1-0.

Cooper, who plays for FC Dallas, came on for Davy Arnaud in the 77th minute of the physical match.

Panama grabbed the lead into first-half stoppage time off a Jose Luis Garces corner kick. Captain Felipe Baloy had his head shot blocked by U.S. defender Chad Marshall. The ball deflected off Stuart Holden and came to Blas Perez, who slotted the ball home from the left side past goalkeeper Troy Perkins.

The U.S., however, equalized four minutes into the second half on Kyle Beckerman's first international goal. Robbie Rogers sent a cross that Davy Arnaud played to Beckerman. Beckerman then unleashed a 17-yard shot past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo for a 1-1 tie.

The Americans had a couple of close encounters a minute apart in the early going.

Forward Brian Ching rattled a Stuart Holden free kick off the woodwork in the eighth minute before defender Chad Marshall headed a shot just wide left in the ninth minute.

Defender Jimmy Conrad made a goal-saving tackle in the 25th minute. Jorge Luis Garces ran into the penalty area with the ball as the Kansas City Wizards veteran knocked the ball away from his foe, out of the box.

Conrad appeared to have received a concussion after colliding with a Panama player while going up for a corner kick in front of the Central Americans' goal in the 41st minute. Conrad had a bloodied face and looked dazed when he tried to get up from the field. He was taken to the locker room just prior to halftime as Clarence Goodson replaced him in first-half stoppage time.

Cooper had a golden opportunity to put the U.S. ahead in the 80th minute, but his point-blank head shot traveled wide left.



   
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