United States kicks off 2019 with win over Panama
Christian Ramirez (center) then became the 53rd player to tally in an MNT debut when he capped the scoring in the 89th minute in an 3-0 victory versus Panama in an international friendly held Sunday night at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo courtesy of USSoccer )
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GLENDALE, Arizona The United States National Team started 2019 on the right foot with a 3-0 victory versus Panama in an international friendly held Sunday night at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The match marked the debut of new U.S. Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, who was appointed by the U.S. Soccer Federation on December 2, 2018.

A 40’ minute strike from Djordje Mihailovic and late scores from Walker Zimmerman in the 80’ and Christian Ramirez in the 89’ gave the U.S. a winning start to the new year.

It was an excellent finish from Mihailovic, who collected a pass from Corey Baird and fired in a right-footed shot for the game’s opening goal.

Edson Samms had the best scoring chance for Panama early in the second half, but his shot was snuffed out by U.S. GK Zack Steffen.

The U.S. remained in control and Zimmerman stretched the lead to two when he headed in a cross from Nick Lima.

Christian Ramirez then polished off the victory with a simple tap-in after Jonathan Lewis had done well to avoid two defenders before crossing for the Los Angeles FC striker.

The U.S. will return to action this Saturday in an international friendly versus Costa Rica in San Jose, California.

NOTES

  • With his 40th minute strike, Djordje Mihailovic became the 52nd player to score in his MNT debut.
  • Christian Ramirez then became the 53rd player to tally in an MNT debut when he capped the scoring in the 89th minute
  • Walker Zimmerman’s 80th minute goal was the second of his international career.
  • Debutants Corey Baird, Nick Lima and Jonathan Lewis registered their first career assists on Mihailovic, Zimmerman and Ramirez’s goals, respectively.
  • Gregg Berhalter joined Bora Milutinovic (1-0 W vs. Uruguay; May 5, 1991) and Bob Bradley (3-1 W vs. Denmark; Jan. 20, 2007) to become the third MNT head coach in the modern era to win his managerial debut. 
  • The Starting XI had an average age of 25 years, 11 days.
  • For just the second time in the modern era, five starters made their MNT debuts: defenders Nick Lima and Daniel Lovitz, along with midfielders Corey Baird, Jeremy Ebobisse and Djordje Mihailovic. The first instance occurred on Sept. 3, 1992, when future World Cup players Cobi Jones, Joe-Max Moore, Brad Friedel, Mike Burns and Mike Lapper started in the USA’s 2-0 win at Canada in St. Johns.