USMNT wins Gold Cup, beating Panama 1-0

By Evan Hilbert | CBSSports.com

The United States slipped past Panama for its first Gold Cup title since 2007.
The United States slipped past Panama for its first Gold Cup title since 2007. (USATSI)

It didn't come easy, but the United States Men's National Team captured the Gold Cup title and earned its record 11th consecutive international victory with a 1-0 win over Panama on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Brek Shea was again the hero, putting away an easy goal midway through the second half. Shea also scored the go-ahead goal in the 82nd minute against Costa Rica in the quarterfinals last week.

The Americans did it without its manager, Jurgen Klinsmann, who was suspended for the game after an outburst in the semifinal match. Klinsmann watched from a box above the field.

Scoring opportunities were few and far between for both sides, but the Americans certainly had more chances than Panama throughout the match.

The U.S.'s best chance in the first half came late, when Alejandro Bedoya cut across the center of the box and found a sliver of space, but his shot was blocked and cleared.

Another golden opportunity came in the 56th minute, when DaMarcus Beasley placed a perfect ball in front of the net, but Landon Donovan's header sailed wide.

The breakthrough finally came in the 69th minute when Shea hammered home an empty-net goal. It was Shea's second career international goal, with the first being the game-winner against Costa Rica.

Panama had a great shot to answer shortly after the U.S. goal, but Roberto Chen's volley went begging wide of the net.

There was a bit of bad news for the USMNT, however, as midfielder Stuart Holden went down with yet another injury in the 18th minute, and Grant Wahl reported on FOX that he was preliminarily diagnosed with a sprained right knee. Holden is no stranger to injury, as he's endured a broken leg, torn ACL and damaged knee cartilage all in the past three years.

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