Brek Shea didn’t waste much time.
Just 42 seconds after being inserted into the game, Shea tapped in an Alejandro Bedoya cross to give the United States their much needed breakthrough as they defeated Panama by a score of 1-0.
The United States was stifled by Panama’s defense throughout the contest, as they maintained 75 percent of the possession but had little to show for it.
However, second half substitute Shea made his presence felt immediately, being in the right place at the right time to get the United States their much needed goal.
The goal was set up by a Bedoya cross from the right side, as the American midfielder was able to play a dangerous ball across the Panamanian box. The cross appeared to be just out of the reach of Landon Donovan, who stretched out to get a touch on the ball that may have deflected it into the back of the net.
However, Shea was taking no risks. Although he was dangerously close to being offside, the Stoke City man made no mistake in tapping in against a bunkered down Panamanian squad.
Brek shea scores the winning goal.. I just want his haircut..— Russ J (@rwjcpa) July 28, 2013
The homie walks in the game and scores! Love it! @BrekShea— Brandon Hays (@B_Hays) July 28, 2013
The 69th minute goal proved to be the difference maker, as the United States was able to hold on despite a very physical and chippy ending.
Panama was successful at stifling the US attack throughout the match, limiting the Yanks' chances the entire game. The United States had 12 shots, but Shea’s was the only one that was actually on target.
The United States was the heavy favorite entering the match but had to overcome their fair share of adversity on the road to victory.
With manager Jurgen Klinsmann suspended after being sent off in the semifinals, the Stars and Stripes were led by the duo of Andreas Herzog and Martin Vasquez, who were praised for the insertion of Shea that led to the lone goal.
The United States also had to cope with the loss of starting midfielder Stuart Holden, who had to leave the game in the 23rd minute after yet another knee injury. Holden, who has been sidelined for most of the past two seasons due to knee ailments, was visibly shaken as he was substituted for Mix Diskerud.
Why'd they have to show Stuart Holden again I feel so bad for him— Kameron Woodall (@Kameron2494) July 28, 2013
Great celebration scenes at Soldier Field. Stuart Holden being given a piggyback ride around the field by Omar Gonzalez.— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) July 28, 2013
Absolutely gutted for Stu Holden. One of the most lovable players on the national team. Been through a lot of hard times in his career.— Tim Fontenault (@Tim_Fontenault) July 28, 2013
The victory gives the United States their 11th straight victory, as well as their fifth Gold Cup title.
Who was your man of the match? What does this win mean for the USMNT program? Discuss below!