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USA vs. Panama: USMNT’s Copa America Journey Takes a Hit

The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) faced a challenging evening as they were defeated by Panama in a thrilling and dramatic Copa America group stage match. The 2024 Copa America clash, held at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, saw the USMNT reduced to ten men early in the game, ultimately succumbing to a 2-1 defeat. This result complicates the USMNT’s path to the knockout stages, making their upcoming match against Uruguay a crucial one.

The USMNT thought they had taken an early lead when Weston McKennie fired home a rebound, but the goal was ruled out after a lengthy VAR check due to Tim Ream being offside in the build-up. This disappointment was compounded when Timothy Weah received a red card following a VAR review, leaving the USMNT to play with ten men for the remainder of the match.

Despite the setback, Folarin Balogun scored a sensational goal to give the USMNT a 1-0 lead. Balogun’s strike, which rebounded off the post and past Panama’s goalkeeper Yerson Mosquera, showcased his talent and gave the US a much-needed boost.

However, Panama quickly capitalized on their numerical advantage. Cesar Blackman equalized with a poked effort that deflected past USMNT goalkeeper Matthew Turner. The first half ended with both teams level, setting the stage for an intense second half.

The second half saw Panama dominate possession and create multiple chances. The USMNT’s defensive efforts were tested repeatedly, and Panama was awarded a penalty on the hour mark. However, after a VAR review, the decision was overturned, much to the relief of the USMNT.

Despite their efforts, the USMNT struggled to create significant opportunities. Balogun came close with a shot from a tight angle, but it went narrowly wide. Panama eventually took the lead in the 84th minute when Jose Fajardo swept a strike past substitute goalkeeper Ethan Horvath.

In the dying moments of the match, Panama’s Adalberto Carrasquilla received a red card for a reckless tackle on Christian Pulisic. Both teams ended the game with ten players, but Panama held on for a historic victory.


USA (4-3-3):

  1. Turner (GK)
  2. Scally
  3. Richards
  4. Ream
  5. A. Robinson
  6. Reyna
  7. Adams
  8. McKennie
  9. Weah
  10. Balogun
  11. Pulisic

Panama (5-4-1):
22. Mosquera (GK)
23. Murillo
24. Farina
3. Cordoba
25. Miller
15. Davis
2. Blackman
6. Martinez
8. Carrasquilla
10. Barcenas
9. Guerrero

This defeat places the USMNT in a precarious position as they prepare to face Uruguay in their final group stage match. With their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages now in jeopardy, the USMNT must secure a positive result against a strong Uruguayan side.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter will need to rally his team and address the disciplinary issues that have plagued their Copa America campaign. The absence of Timothy Weah, who will miss the Uruguay match due to suspension, adds to the challenge.

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