The match was defined by the play of both goalkeepers as Kasey Keller and Jaime Penedo were fantastic in front of the net coming up with key saves time and time again to force the game into overtime and finally penalty kicks.
In the shootout Keller continued his dominance by saving Panama’s first attempt by Luis Tejada and then got some help from the crossbar and a clear miss over the frame. On the U.S. end Santino Quaranta and Landon Donovan buried their attempts from the spot before Brad Davis secured the victory with a well-placed shot to the right corner.
The U.S. adds their third Gold Cup championship having previously won the inaugural tournament in 1991 and again in 2002. Similar to this tournament the U.S. won the 1991 championship via penalty kicks defeating Honduras 4-3 from the spot.
"First of all congratulations to coach (Jose) Hernandez and the Panama team said U.S. Men’s National Team assistant coach Glenn Myernick who took over the head coaching duties for the suspended Bruce Arena.
"They had a fantastic tournament and put forth a valiant effort today. At the end of it both teams were fatigued and fortunately we were able to come out ahead. I was very proud of the team’s effort today. They deserved to win the championship."
The U.S. was able to only suit up 17 players due to a number of injuries they’ve suffered over the course of the six-game tournament but the most notable member of the team missing from the bench was Arena. The MNT manager was ejected during the USA’s thrilling 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Honduras and was unable to direct the team from his usual location along the sideline.
Despite the 0-0 scoreline after regulation the match was nothing less than riveting as both teams played attacking soccer and created a number of chances on goal. A total of 41 shots were taken between the two teams with most of the opportunities coming during regulation as the players became worn down as the game moved to the extra periods.
In the shootout the U.S. jumped out to a quick advantage as Panama blanked on their first two attempts with Keller saving Tejada’s shot and Jorge Dely Valdes hitting the underside of the crossbar. Quaranta buried the USA’s first chance but Chris Armas’ down-the-middle attempt didn’t fool Penedo and he made the easy save. Felipe Baloy buried Panama’s third attempt to draw even at 1-1 but Donovan replied with the following kick to put the U.S. up once again.
The shootout only went four kicks as Alberto Blanco hit his attempt high over the bar leaving Davis with the opportunity to win the tournament with one shot. Davis performed a bit of a stutter-step before placing the ball past the outstretched hands of Penedo and into the lower-right corner.
"I just had a feeling that Kasey was going to make a save or they were going to miss and it was going to come down to me said Davis after the match. "I just knew I couldn’t second guess myself. I just needed to pick a corner and hit it with pace and that’s what I did."
The penalty kick victory was the USA’s third in four attempts during the Gold Cup. Along with the championship match in 1991 the U.S. defeated Canada in the 2002 semifinals 4-2 in a shootout. The only penalty kick loss suffered by the U.S. was a 1-2 defeat against Colombia in the 2000 quarterfinals.
"What we tried to do was go to school on the penalty kicks they took in the quarterfinal round and in doing that I saved the first one said Keller who with 21 passed Cobi Jones for most Gold Cup appearances for a U.S. player. "For the most part we stepped up and made ours and they missed theirs. It was a total team effort today."
The U.S. had the first attempt in overtime in the 92nd minute as Donovan found Davis making a run to his left and the defender had time to hit a left-footed blast from the edge of the penalty area but his attempt whizzed by the right post.
Four minutes later Keller made his biggest save of the day when he denied Dely Valdes from point-blank range. Dely Valdes chested down a cross inside the penalty area and faked a shot to get Conrad to commit to a side leaving him with time to pick his spot to the left of the goal but Keller stretched out to get his right glove on the attempt and keep the game scoreless.
"Every single game in this tournament Kasey Keller made a big play for us said Myernick. "He has shown his quality the whole time."
In regulation play Panama created the first good opportunity in the seventh minute as an over-the-top through ball got behind the U.S. defense freeing Julio Medina on goal. Keller did well to come off his line and force Medina to push the ball to his left. Medina couldn’t collect the ball in time to take a strike on the open net forcing him to drop it back to Tejada who tried to place his shot into the upper right corner but pushed it too high.
John O’Brien and Jimmy Conrad both had chances to put the U.S. one sequence in the lead during the 24th minute. After a cleared Landon Donovan corner kick Greg Vanney quickly pushed the ball back into the right side of the penalty area to O’Brien. The U.S. midfielder unleashed a drive that looked destined for the lower-left corner but Penedo made a sprawling save to keep it wide. Despite Penedo’s efforts Conrad had a tap-in from a yard away at the back post but he miss-hit the ball over the crossbar.
Penedo single-handidly kept the game scoreless in the final eight minutes of the first half with three impressive saves. His first came in the 38th minute as he closed the door on a great U.S. buildup for the chance on goal. After keeping possession in the midfield Beasley pushed the ball out wide for Vanney and he served a cross into the six-yard box where Wolff got up for header only to see Penedo parry the attempt over with a great reflex save.
Three minutes later O’Brien tried to knock the ball out wide left but it deflected off a defender high into the air falling right to Wolff who released a streaking Beasley behind the Panama defense with a deft flick header with his back to goal. With defenders closing Beasley tried to beat Penedo to his left but the Panama ‘keeper slid to his right to make the save.
The final attempt of the half for the U.S. came with a minute remaining as Keller punted the ball up the left flank for Wolff on a quick counter-attack. Wolff used his speed to burn up the left flank before cutting inside of Jose Torres near the endline and hit a blistering shot from a tough angle but Penedo was again up to the task.
Panama had the next two chances on goal with the first coming just before the end of the half. Angel Luis Rodriguez who had just been substituted into the match released Gabriel Gomez to his left and he unleashed a blast that went barely wide of the left post. Seven minutes after the break Tejada provided some fireworks when he chested a cross into the air and then hit a bicycle kick that may have been going wide left but Keller didn’t take any chances by getting a piece of it to knock it out for a corner.
The U.S. was able to avoid disaster in the 75th minute as Dely Valdes got open behind Oguchi Onyewu at the left corner of the six-yard box to pounce on a cross in by Rodriguez but his shot hit the underside of the crossbar.
The U.S. supplied a couple more shots on goal but their best chance in regulation came off a nice dribbling run by Quaranta. The substitute was able to get past three defenders on the left side of the penalty area before crossing the ball through Penedo’s legs and across the goalmouth but Clint Dempsey just couldn’t react quick enough to tap it into the open net.
Beasley Donovan and Onyewu were named to the All-Tournament team while Kasey Keller and John O’Brien were named honorable mention.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Panama
Date: July 24 2005
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup - Final
Venue: Giants Stadium – East Rutherford N.J.
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Weather: Mostly cloudy 85 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 1OT 2OT PK F
USA 0 0 0 0 3 0
Panama 0 0 0 0 1 0
U.S. earns 2005 Gold Cup championship 3-1 in penalty kicks
PAN: Tejada (save) Dely Valdes (crossbar) Baloy (goal) Blanco (high)
USA: Quaranta (goal) Armas (save) Donovan (goal) Davis (goal)
USA: 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); 2-Frankie Hejduk 12-Jimmy Conrad 4-Oguchi Onyewu 3-Greg Vanney; 14-Chris Armas 5-John O’Brien 10-Landon Donovan; 8-Clint Dempsey (21-Brad Davis 84) 16-Josh Wolff (9-Santino Quaranta 62) 7-DaMarcus Beasley (15-Ben Olsen 114)
Subs not used: 1-Marcus Hahnemann 22-Tony Sanneh 24-Matt Reis
Head Coach: Bruce Arena
PAN: 1-Jaime Penedo; 2-Carlos Rivera 3-Luis Moreno 4-Jose Torres 5-Felipe Baloy; 6-Gabriel Gomez 8-Alberto Blanco 10-Julio Medina (17-Luis Henrizuez 87) 20-Engin Mitre (21-Angel Luis Rodriguez 43); 7-Jorge Dely Valdes 18-Luis Tejada.
Subs not used: 11-Roberto Brown 12-Jose Calderon 14-Roman Torres 16-Ubaldo Guardia 19-Gustavo Avila
Head Coach: Jose Hernandez
Stats Summary: USA PAN
Shots 23 18
Saves 5 10
Corner Kicks 10 5
Fouls 26 21
Offside 1 5
PAN – Gabriel Gomez (caution) 62nd minute
USA – Brad Davis (caution) 86.
USA – Frankie Hejduk (caution) 120.
Referee: Carlos Batres (GUA)
1st Asst.: Hector Vergara (CAN)
2nd Asst.: Arturo Velasquez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Peter Prendergast (JAM)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Kasey Keller