United States vs. Panama: Breaking Down Gold Cup Final by the Numbers
For just the second time in 12 CONCACAF Gold Cups, the United States will take on Panama in the final.
This isn't exactly new territory for the Stars and Stripes, who will be making their ninth ever Gold Cup final appearance and fifth in a row.
Panama, on the other hand, hasn't been there since 2005, when it came up short against the Yanks on penalties.
Throw in the fact that each squad has advanced this far in quite dominant fashion (Team USA has outscored opponents 19-4; Panama 11-3), and there is plenty of intrigue surrounding this ultimate matchup.
Let's take a closer look by the numbers
That's how many goals Landon Donovan has directly contributed to during this Gold Cup—five goals and seven assists.
Twelve of 19. That's insane.
How many goals+assists will Donovan have against Panama in the final?
And that's only counting the ones where he is credited on the score sheet, as he has been involved in the buildup of a couple others.
When Donovan took a year away from Team USA for mental issues, many believed he was done.
That couldn't have been more wrong. Donovan has easily been the best player in this tournament, showcasing impressive speed, deadly accuracy on his passing and intelligent play in the midfield as he continues to add to his legend.
Dealing with Donovan and keeping him out of space must be priority No. 1 for Panama, but that's far easier said than done.
There are three players in this tournament who have scored five goals in five games.
We've already mentioned that Donovan is one of them. The other two are USA's Chris Wondolowski and Panama's Gabriel Torres.
Wondo hasn't scored since he netted five in USA's first two matches, though, as the inclusion of Eddie Johnson has cut into his playing time.
Torres, however, scored three in group play and added two more in the quarterfinals against Cuba, and although three of his have come via penalty kicks, he has fired off 17 shots on goal, significantly more than both Donovan and Wondolowski.
The United States' center-backs are going to have to know where the prolific Torres is at all times. He has an extremely high work rate along with the talent to make the Americans pay.
That would be 10 minutes and 46 seconds, also known as the total time it has taken Eddie Johnson to score two goals.
In the quarterfinals against El Salvador, the recently called up Johnson came on in the 60th minute and blasted this header home after just 14 seconds on the pitch:
He was a little slower against Honduras, getting the start but waiting until the 11th minute to put the Americans ahead.
Johnson has always had a nose for the goal, but he certainly thrives against CONCACAF squads, per ESPN's Paul Carr:
Eddie Johnson has scored 16 of his 17 #USMNT goals against CONCACAF teams (1 vs Argentina).— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) July 24, 2013
From Donovan to Wondolowski to Johnson to Torres, there is going to be an incredible amount of goal-scoring firepower in this one.
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