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Panama, U.S. wrangle to 1-1 draw

Action from the CONCACAF Gold Cup match between Panama and the USA (white jersey) on July 13, 2015, in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo: Mexsport)

KANSAS CITY, Kansas – In a rematch of the 2013 final, Michael Bradley scored in the 55th minute to lift the United States to a 1-1 Group A draw with Panama in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Monday night.

It was only the fourth time in the 24-year history of the competition that the Americans failed to win a group stage match.

Panama (0-3-0, 3 points) -- the lone team to defeat the Americans in group-stage play (2011) -- will have to wait until Group B and possibly Group C matches are completed on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, to have its tournament fate determined. Haiti (1-1-1, 4 points), which posted a 1-0 victory over Honduras (0-1-2, 1 point) earlier in the evening, finished as runner-up to progress for the third time in six attempts.

The USA (2-1-0, 7 points) already had clinched the group title and a place in Saturday’s quarterfinals in Baltimore.

The opening half had plenty of excitement mostly behind the inspired play of Panama and an enthusiastic capacity crowd of 18,467 at Sporting Park.

The Panamanians pressured the USA from the outset, thinking they had scored when Luis Tejada put the ball into the net in the sixth minute, but the 33-year-old forward was ruled to be offside.

Tejada, though, would play a key part in a goal that counted in the 33rd minute. He slid a pass from right across the face of the goal to an onrushing Blas Perez, who slipped the ball past goalkeeper Brad Guzan from four-yards out for a 1-0 lead. Perez now has now 11 career Gold Cup goals, one behind Mexico’s Luis Roberto Alves for second on the all-time list.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann brought in Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin at halftime to energize the defending champion. Ten minutes later, the Americans equalized as Bradley finished from five-yards out a short Alejandro Bedoya feed for a 1-1 tie.

Three minutes into second-half stoppage time, a last-gasp effort by Panama’s Armando Cooper was caught by Guzan for his seventh save of the night.

American defender John Brooks was assessed his second yellow card of the group stage for fouling Perez in the 16th minute, meaning he will miss the quarterfinal.

 
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