USA beats Panama 1-0 to win Gold Cup
USA 1-0 Panama: Suspended Klinsmann claims first trophy with Gold Cup win
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With Klinsmann sitting in a booth high above the playing field at Soldier Field, the Stars and Stripes overcame their coach's suspension and dominated their opponents to claim victory before a crowd 57,900 on Sunday afternoon thanks a solitary strike from Brek Shea, on 69 minutes.
The US have now won five Gold Cups, but this is the first trophy for their German coach, who took over the national squad two years ago and has the team headed in the right direction ahead of next summer's World Cup in Brazil.
Klinsmann was suspended for the match after getting tossed out of his team's 3-1 victory over Honduras in the semi-finals on Wednesday. In Klinsmann's absence, his two assistant coaches, Martin Vasquez and Andreas Herzog, handled responsibilities from the sideline.
Their first major coaching decision came in the 23rd minute when they subbed out Stuart Holden after the midfielder went down with a knee injury caused by a collision with Panama's Alberto Quintero. Holden, who has been battling knee injuries for the last two years, was replaced by Mix Diskerud.
Holden's injury, which is being called a sprained knee and will be reevaluated, overshadowed anything that happened on the field in a first half that was lacked any real scoring chances for the Americas.
But things would go much more smoothly for the hosts in the second half.
Playing with a sense of urgency, Landon Donovan nearly drew a penalty kick shortly after halftime when he kicked the ball into a defender's hand, but the referee decide it was incidental contact. Moments later, he headed a cross just wide of the goal.
With full momentum on their side, the much-anticipated goal would come with just over 20 minutes to go. Donovan whiffed on a cross from Alejandro Bedoya but the ball rolled to Shea at the far post for an easy tap-in goal.
Shea, who had recorded his first international goal earlier in the tournament, scored just 43 seconds after entering the match for Joe Corona.
After the goal, Klinsmann left his box and would appear on the pitch after the final whistle to celebrate with the mostly reserve side that proved how deep the U.S. player pool has gotten since the German trainer took over.
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