Gold Cup

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How the US rated against Panama

Clint Dempsey Landon Donovan USA v Panama
Clint Dempsey is embraced by Landon Donovan after firing the USA into the Gold Cup final.
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Ives Galarcep

Ives Galarcep is a 14-year veteran of the American soccer beat. He created and operates the popular American soccer blog, Soccer By Ives, which was voted Best American Soccer Blog by US Soccer in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Ives was also voted Best Football Writer by SoccerLens in 2010. 
 

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Ives Galarcep assesses the individual performances of the U.S. team in its Gold Cup semi-final victory against Panama.

Tim Howard 6. Not much to do for Howard, but he did tip one shot over the crossbar. Perhaps he can look at the semifinal as a good rest ahead of what should be a busier final against Mexico.

Eric Lichaj 6.5. Lichaj put in another good performance at left back, getting forward to keep pressure on Panama’s flank, but speeding back to handle his defensive duties. Making the position his own.

Carlos Bocanegra 7. The veteran defender was vital in the middle, winning countless balls in the air and making several key tackles.

Landon Donovan 6. Actually started off rather slowly, but stepped it up as the second half went on and he delivered the perfect pass for Dempsey’s winner. The goal energized him and he closed the match out well. Improved on his group stage performance against Panama, though the absence of Blas Perez made that easier. Now he’ll have a chance to atone for his role in U.S. team’s shocking 5-0 loss to Mexico in the 2009 Gold Cup Final.

Steve Cherundolo 6.5. Added another sample to his Gold Cup Best XI case, locking down the right flank and getting forward well.

Sacha Kljestan 4.5. When a playmaker’s sole contributions are tracking back well for a few defensive stops, you know it wasn’t a good night. Kljestan just didn’t click well with his fellow attacking players and left at halftime as a result.

Michael Bradley 6. Put in a ton of defensive work as usual, but wasn’t as influential offensively as in past matches. He did play an early role in the sequence that led to the Dempsey game-winner, but did have some struggles later in the match.

 

See the action from the Gold Cup semifinals.

Jermaine Jones 6. His normally pin-point passing was off the mark a bit, but he stepped it up in the second half and helped force Panama to push the wings for chances. Did well to avoid a yellow card, which would have kept him out of Saturday’s Gold Cup final.

Alejandro Bedoya 6.5. The U.S. team’s most energetic player, Bedoya wasn’t quite as sharp offensively as he was in the Jamaica game, but he buzzed around the field contributing defensively and offensively, dare I say like a young Landon Donovan.

Clint Dempsey 7. Another clutch goal from the U.S. team’s unquestioned best finisher and most reliable scorer. Struggled at times due to Panama’s pressure and a lack of support from midfield, but he found spots often to press Panama’s defense and finished his best chance perfectly.

Juan Agudelo 6. Energetic and dangerous in the first half, Agudelo came within a crossbar of notching his first goal of the tournament, but faded in the second half before coming out. Still a promising start that should earn him a place in the final.

Freddy Adu 7. In 24 minutes, Adu showed off all the promise that his biggest fans have believed he can show, and impressed plenty of folks who had long written him off. His touch and passes were perfect, and as good as his pass on the Dempsey goal was, he could have also had an assist on an earlier sequence.

Landon Donovan 6. Actually started off rather slowly, but stepped it up as the second half went on and he delivered the perfect pass for Dempsey’s winner. The goal energized him and he closed the match out well.

Ives Galarcep is a senior writer for FoxSoccer.com covering Major League Soccer and the U.S. national team.

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