USA fail to defeat Panama again as elimination is possible

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Credit: USMNT

The United States fell to Panama 2-1 in the second game of the group stage of Copa America

In a match that was expected to see the USA win easily, a nightmare result arose to see Panama leave victorious. That marks two straight wins against the USA on American soil as they, alongside Uruguay, currently have three points in Group C of the Copa America. Uruguay takes on Bolivia on Thursday night.

Depending on the result of that game, if the Americans don’t force at last a draw against Uruguay, they will not advance. If they do beat Uruguay, they will advance to the quarterfinals. After Thursday evening’s performance, it may be tough to see that happening with a clear eye.

Timothy Weah earned a red card in the 18th minute and from there, the USA never stood much of a chance playing on the back foot. When they did have an even playing field, they had control.

The United States earned a free kick early on, and Christian Pulisic stepped up to the ball. He placed a perfect cross into the box, which set up Weston McKinnie to find the back of the net. However, VAR ruled otherwise, and the goal was taken away. Instead of having another quick 1-0 lead, the USA had a level match as Panama tried to take advantage.

Roughly eight minutes later, goalkeeper Matt Turner jumped in the air and was drilled by midfielder Cesar Blackman on a forward cross attempt, which took the wind out of him. That situation usually sees a yellow card issued to who caused the event, instead, no card was issued.

USA showcased their frustration right away as Weah then struck Roderick Miller in the head and was sent off with a red card The Americans were playing with 10 men the rest of the way. This is when the chaos started.

Fewer than five minutes later, Folarin Balogun nailed in the early advantage as his attempt struck the post and into the back of the net.

That was his second goal of the tournament,t as the forward has been a huge addition to the roster.

Just four minutes later, Panama leveled.

Cesar Blackman, who took out Turner earlier in the match and should have had a warning, scored the equalizer with the left foot past a diving Turner.

Panama dominated possession the rest of the half. They had over a 70% possession rate and attempted seven shots. Luckily for the U.S., only the one was on target.

The United States managed to keep the score level at halftime. Gregg Berhalter made theee changes for the second half, most notably Ethan Horvath replacing injured Matt Turner in goal. It was clear that Turner was not comfortable out there, and Horvath has experience in this situation.

Berhalter also brought in Jonny Cardoso for Tyler Adams and Cameron Carter-Vickers for Giovanni Reyna. Every decision from here on out was an important one as the U.S. knew how important a strong result was in this match. They could not afford to lose and force a potential must-win scenario against Uruguay.

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The second-half formation, really since the red card from Weah, Berhalter had Pulisic drop back and they played like a 1-3-5 to make sure they had five players defending the attack. Ricardo Pepi would later replace Balogun.

In the 64th minute, the official called for a Panama penalty but was overturned on VAR. The United States remained alive. From the officials angle, it was easy to understand why he called the penalty, but it turned out that Carter-Vickers had fallen and the Panama player avoided contact.

In the 83rd minute, Jose Rajardo nailed in the go-ahead goal set up from a beautiful cross from Abdiel Ayarza.

Just when things seemed to be highly in Panama’s favor, Adalberto Carrasquilla was issued a red card after tripping Pulisic on the attack. Both teams had ten men remaining, and the U.S. had about five minutes to create a chance to even the score.

That miracle would not happen for the United States and now they have a tough task next week against Uruguay.

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