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Soccer

U.S. falls to Panama, 3-2, in Gold Cup shootout

Graham Zusi, Erick Davis

U.S. midfielder Graham Zusi (19) is tripped up by the tackle of Panama defender Erick Davis (15) in the first half of the CONCACAF Gold Cup third-place game on Saturday.

(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Backup goalkeeper Luis Mejia stopped two penalty kicks in a shootout, and Panama defeated the United States, 3-2, in the CONCACAF Gold Cup third-place game Saturday.

The game ended tied, 1-1, after extra time. Mejia stopped DaMarcus Beasley’s shot in the fifth round in what might have been the veteran defender’s last game for the national team.

Panama was on the verge of beating Mexico in a semifinal game Wednesday despite being down to 10 men but was called for a disputed hand ball in the area. Mexico converted the penalty kick in stoppage time then scored on a penalty kick in extra time for a 2-1 victory.

The Panamanian federation’s president later alleged the game was fixed and players were seen arriving at PPL Park on Saturday wearing T-shirts that read “Dignity isn’t bought.”

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It was another shaky performance by the U.S., which lost to Jamaica in a semifinal game and had its worst Gold Cup finish since losing to Colombia in a shootout in the 2000 quarterfinals.

Roberto Nurse scored for Panama in the 55th minute, and Clint Dempsey tied the score in the 70th with his tournament-high seventh goal.

With the shootout tied, 2-2, in the fourth round, Mejia stopped Michael Bradley’s shot. Harold Cummings then beat Brad Guzan inside the left post to put the pressure on Beasley to keep the U.S. alive.

Panama was without several key players because of injury or suspension, including its top goalkeeper. But it dominated play against the U.S., with 11 shots on goal against two in regulation.

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After a U.S. player had to clear a shot off the line to prevent a goal for the second time, Panama broke through moments later. Nurse took the ball in the area but had two defenders around him. He faked out John Brooks, the young center back. Nurse was alone in front of the goal for what seemed like several seconds as he lined up the shot to beat Guzan.

With the U.S. trailing, Coach Juergen Klinsmann used DeAndre Yedlin and Dempsey as subs in the 60th minute, and they combined for the tying goal.

Yedlin’s speed created the chance when he ran onto and chested down a long ball from Bradley. That drew the goalkeeper and two defenders to him, and Yedlin spun around and flicked it to Dempsey, who slid into the ball from 16 yards.


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