Game Day — USA v. Panama. Fans turned out for the match with lots of Red, White and Blue for the USA. — Photos by Tracey Savell Reavis
The US Men’s soccer team picked up a much needed win Sunday defeating Panama 2-0, in a friendly at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The victory over CONCACAF rivals is the first win for the team after losing its opening match of 2015. And it marks the first win for the team since Sept. of last year, when they defeated the Czech Republic in their first match after the World Cup.
The U.S. opened the scoring with a corner kick into the net from Michael Bradley in the 27th minute. Then at the 37th, Los Angeles Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes, playing for the first time as a starter for the senior team, set up Clint Dempsey with a great ball. The Seattle Sounders striker scored his 40th career goal and gave the U.S. a 2-0 lead. Panama pressed but could not score in the game as the U.S. defended well in the second half as well as controlled the tempo of the match. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann had the opportunity to get many of the younger players minutes, including Lee Nguyen, Perry Kitchen and Luis Gil.
After the game, Klinsmann said the was pleased to see the team finish with a win after the January camp, as well as the effort he got from the mix of veterans and newcomers that played.
“That’s what these friendlies are for. To try things out and make adjustments. The energy was there today, the positive attitude was there. There was plenty of experience on the field.”
And when asked about progress toward this summer’s Gold Cup tournament, Klinsmann said, “We will take the best group to Gold Cup and hopefully we can win.”
Next up for the U.S. are two matches during the FIFA international window, where they will play at Denmark on March 25, and at Switzerland, on March 31.
Honoring a Fallen National Team Player
Before the USA-Panama match there was a moment of silence held for former national team player, Frank Borghi, who died Feb. 2, at the age of 89. A goalkeeper who grew up playing soccer and baseball in St. Louis, Mo., Borghi played five years with the U.S. national team, from 1949-1953. One of hie greatest team achievements was an historic shutout that saw the U.S. defeat England, 1-0, in a 1950 World Cup match. The keeper made his debut for the national team in 1949. He played professionally for St. Louis’ Simpkins-Ford, where he won two national titles. Borghi entered the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1976.
Hablando de Idiomas
At the team practice on Sat. media may have been surprised to see Jozy Altidore speaking Spanish while being interviewed by international media. In fact Altidore is one of many players on the team that speaks more than English. The Haitian-born Altidore also speaks Creole and Dutch. Several players from the 2014 World Cup squad speak Spanish, including Omar Gonzalez and Alejandro Bedoya. All of the German-American players speak German fluently, as well as coach Klinsmann, Mix Diskerud speaks Norwegian and Michael Bradley speaks fluent Italian, and some Dutch, German, and Spanish, after playing in various league overseas.
The men’s team is like a mini-United Nations when it comes to global languages spoken.