USMNT Held to 1-1 Draw vs. Panama in Gold Cup Opener

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2017

EAST HARTFORD, CT - JULY 01: Dom Dwyer #14 of the United States battles defenders John Boye #21 and Jerry Akaminko  #14 of Ghana John Boye #21 in the first half during an international friendly between USA and Ghana at Pratt & Whitney Stadium on July 1, 2017 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

USA were held to a 1-1 draw by Panama in their 2017 Gold Cup opener on Saturday. Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer opened scoring for the U.S. at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, but Miguel Camargo netted an equaliser at 60 minutes.

It means the U.S. have made a stuttering start in Group B.

Alejandro Bedoya captained coach Bruce Arena's squad, while Brad Guzan tended goal. Meanwhile, FC Porto attacker Ismael Diaz was included for Panama, per Fox Soccer:

Goal-mouth action was in short supply during the first 25 minutes, although Kellyn Acosta did fire in a long-range shot amid a series of corners for the U.S. Things livened up just before the half-hour mark when Acosta's fellow midfielder Kelyn Rowe went close before a rare foray forward by Panama, per Fox Soccer:

Despite being the better side in the opening 45 minutes, the hosts were left frustrated at the break, per U.S. Soccer:

The mood in Nashville changed five minutes after the restart when Dwyer finished smartly after being played in by Rowe. It was the second international goal in as many matches for Dwyer, per Major League Soccer:

Meanwhile, MLS writer Charles Boehm thought more credit was due to the goal provider:

Panama had gone behind but soon offered a reminder of their threat on the break by again calling Guzan into action. The 32-year-old stopper did brilliantly to keep out a close-range header from Gabriel Torres.

Guzan wasn't as fortunate on the hour mark, though, when the rebound from his save, again to deny Torres, was turned in by Camargo.

The match seemed set for a frantic finish but failed to deliver one. It didn't help Arena's men lacked inspiration and quality from midfield, with Acosta disappointing.

Meanwhile, Panama appeared content to sit deep and protect their point, only breaking when the moment was ripe.

Based on this showing, the U.S. will struggle to pose a meaningful challenge to tournament heavyweights Mexico.