The United States men's national team collected their fifth CONCACAF Gold Cup title at Soldier Field on Sunday, downing Panama 1-0 thanks to a goal from substitute Brek Shea, scored just seconds after he entered the game.
Shea’s goal in the 69th minute finally broke open what had been an interminable match. Coming off a cross from the far right flank from Alejandro Bedoya, Landon Donovan attempted to slip the ball to the far post of Jaime Penedo’s net, but missed. Bedoya’s ball kept on running and would have ended up in the net had Shea not even put a boot on it.
The Americans were often the best team in this Gold Cup, and Donovan has been the player of the tournament. But there had been some concern coming into this match because of the state of USA’s manager: Jurgen Klinsmann was confined to a skybox after CONCACAF slapped a single-game suspension on him following his sending-off against Honduras in the final. In his stead, Andreas Herzog was the American manager of record, and will take official credit for throwing Shea in at the right time.
Next up for the Americans is a tougher, truer test: they face Costa Rica and Mexico in back-to-back 2014 World Cup qualifiers, and can seal their berth for the 2014 World Cup early should results break their way. While the Yanks will be happy to collect this trophy, the truth is that the real games are yet to come.
» Bleacher Report: What We Learned About the USMNT
» Goal: Donovan Determined to Prove Himself