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CONCACAF Gold Cup | Semi-Finals
Jul 13, 2023 at 12.30am UK

1 - 1

Panama win 5-4 on penalties
Ferreira (105')
Robinson (86')
Anderson (99')
Godoy (101')

Preview: USA vs. Panama - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: USA vs. Panama - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's CONCACAF Gold Cup clash between USA and Panama, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

The USA can punch their ticket to a fourth successive Gold Cup final with a victory on Wednesday versus Panama at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.

In the last eight, an own-goal in the final few minutes of extra time allowed the Yanks to force penalties where they eventually eliminated Canada, while the Panamanians eased past Qatar 4-0.

Match preview

Entering an elimination game with a starting 11 that averaged 11.7 caps between them takes a lot of guts and comes with its share of potential risk.

That was the gamble BJ Callaghan took on Sunday in Cincinnati, and fortunately for him, it worked out in a game where the US gave up as many goals in two hours of play as they had in their six previous knockout fixtures at the Gold Cup (two).

On Sunday, the US were behind for five minutes, which is the longest they had ever trailed at this tournament since losing 1-0 to Mexico in the 2019 final, thanks to a 73rd-minute strike from Jonathan dos Santos.

Coming into this tournament as the reigning Gold Cup champions put a massive target on their backs, though they have risen to the occasion when needing to so far, scoring 15 goals in just four matches, the most they have managed at this stage of the competition since 2011 (16).

Although they have won six successive meetings versus the Panamanians on American soil, the US are winless in their last three Gold Cup meetings against them, losing on penalties to Los Canaleros in the 2015 third-place match.

The Yanks have not allowed an opening-half goal in the knockout stage of this tournament since conceding twice versus Jamaica in the 2015 semi-final round, losing that particular encounter 2-1.

Since suffering a 3-2 defeat versus Mexico at the 2015 CONCACAF Cup final, the US have never lost when scoring multiple times in a single encounter.

Panama put on quite the show in their quarter-final clash, going ahead after 19 minutes and cruising from there, leaving no doubt about their place in the final four.

Thomas Christiansen's men had been under the radar until their previous encounter, but after dominating the Maroons with 62% possession, while allowing just one shot on target, the Panamanians have made a point that they belong with the big nations in this region.

Their 4-0 triumph on Saturday was the biggest victory for Los Canaleros at this tournament since destroying Cuba in the 2013 quarter-finals (6-1), eventually making it to the final that year where they lost to the United States (1-0).

It must be especially encouraging for Christiansen knowing how sharp his players were defensively last weekend as the Panamanians posted their first clean sheet since late March.

La Marea Roja have not defeated any of the big three North American nations (Canada, the USA and Mexico) in over a year, beating Canada 1-0 on the final day of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in March 2022.

Panama's 2022 World Cup dreams were dashed by the Yanks, who scorched them with five goals in the opening 65 minutes, as Los Canaleros suffered their worst defeat (5-1) against a CONCACAF opponent since being hammered 6-2 by the US in a 2020 friendly, which perhaps thankfully for them took place behind closed doors.

Following their loss to the Americans last year, Panama have earned a win or draw in 10 of their subsequent 12 matches played against teams in this region, not counting the one versus Qatar, as the Maroons were invited to this tournament despite competing in Asia.

USA CONCACAF Gold Cup form:

USA form (all competitions):

Panama CONCACAF Gold Cup form:

Panama form (all competitions):

Team News

The Americans might be missing Jalen Neal for this match after the 19-year-old sustained a knee injury versus Canada and was replaced by Aaron Long, Julian Gressel made his first start in an official international competition and James Sands became the 11th player in the history of this program to feature in 10 successive Gold Cup encounters.

On Sunday, Brandon Vazquez of FC Cincinnati became the first US player to score in his own club stadium since Clint Dempsey did so in Seattle at the 2016 Copa America Centenario, while an own-goal by Scott Kennedy forced penalties in their quarter-final clash with Canada where Matt Turner was the hero, stopping two Canuck efforts from 12 yards away.

Jesus Ferreira, who leads this tournament with six goals, had one in their lopsided victory over Panama during the previous World Cup qualifying cycle, Djordje Mihailovic picked his 10th international cap last weekend, Cristian Roldan is four appearances away from 40 and Matt Miazga needs three more to hit 30.

There were six changes made to the Panamanian starting 11 last weekend as Andres Andrade, Adalberto Carrasquilla, Anibal Godoy, Eric Davis, Jose Fajardo and Alberto Quintero came into the fold in place of Roderick Miller, Cesar Blackman, Jovani Welch, Cristian Martinez, Freddy Gondola and Cecilio Waterman.

Yoel Barcenas netted the winner on Saturday for the second time at the Gold Cup this year, while Ismael Diaz picked up a hat-trick in the span of nine minutes, making it the fastest trio of goals ever scored in this competition, while Orlando Mosquera collected his first clean sheet of the tournament.

Godoy was on the mark the last time they defeated the United States in October 2021 when Luis Mejia shut them out in a 1-0 victory, while Harold Cummings put home the winning penalty when they defeated the Yanks in the third-place match at the 2015 Gold Cup.

USA possible starting lineup:
Turner; Reynolds, Robinson, Miazga, Jones; Busio, Sands, Mihailovic; J. Morris, Ferreira, Zendejas

Panama possible starting lineup:
Mosquera; Escobar, Cummings, Andrade; Barcenas, Welch, Godoy, Davis; Fajardo, Waterman, Diaz

We say: USA 2-0 Panama

There is an argument that can be made for Panama performing better than the US so far at this tournament, but the Americans have shown they do not need to be at their best necessarily to emerge victorious.

While Los Canaleros have a formidable starting 11, the US have too many difference makers who can change the complexion of this game, and that is why we are leaning towards them to advance into the final once again.

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