NASHVILLE, Tennessee – There was a lot United States head coach Bruce Arena wasn’t happy about following a 1-1 draw with Panama in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup opener for each Saturday.
Brad Guzan wasn’t on that list.
The veteran goalkeeper was spectacular, making seven saves and proving to be a big reason why the Americans earned at least a point.
Guzan got a piece of a Miguel Camargo shot that seemed destined for the back of the net in the 27th minute and then robbed Gabriel Torres from close range in the 55th minute. Five minutes later, Guzan again denied Torres. The rebound, though, popped to Camargo, who leveled the match.
“Brad Guzan made a terrific save and after that we should have cleared the ball,” Arena said.
Arena was also impressed with the energy and fresh legs substitutes Juan Agudelo, Jordan Morris and Gyasi Zardes provided, as well as Dom Dwyer’s second goal in as many appearances.
Providing the assist was Rowe, who initially flicked the ball to himself to create the space needed to make the crucial pass.
“I think it was good to find that opening,” Rowe said. “It’s all we were looking for for a while. It wasn’t that great of a ball in. Dom did really well to finish that ball.”
Rowe, who also had two quality scoring chances that Panama goalkeeper Jose Calderon parried away, said earning the start is the confidence boost he’ll use going forward in the tournament.
The United States’ first game may have left a lot to be desired, but Guzan also credited a Panama side that prevailed over the U.S. on penalties in the 2015 Gold Cup’s third place match.
“Panama is a good team. They’ve gotten better over the years,” Guzan finished. “They did a good job of frustrating us and nicking balls in good areas for them and bad areas for us.”
Each of the 10 all-time Gold Cup games contested between the U.S. and Panama have been decided by one goal or fewer.