Big Game Deserves LiveBlog: USA U-23s vs. Panama U-23s

Share your thoughts below!!! Who was your man of the match? Keep this Starting XI for Honduras??? Let me know…hope you enjoyed the game. 

It’s all over!! – Nowak and crew get the win, but in truth, it wasn’t all that convincing – hopefully it’s a stepping stone into Saturday’s match-up vs. Honduras who sits on top of the group with 6 points.
90′ + 4′ – game’s not over and Christian Miles is ALREADY CALLING THE WIN, tell him to shut it
90′ + 3′ – Findley and Davies coming on as time-wasting subs, Panama’s whole team tries to physically push Altidore off the pitch, the Panama captain almost escorts Freddy Adu off
90′ + 2′ – ball hits referee, everyone laughs; Panama is trying to pour people forward
90′ – Altidore receives a nice counter ball from Kljestan from the back, taps around the defender and off to the races – he tries to cut at the last second in the box but he gets tripped up and his attempt interrupted
88′ – Zizzo almost outruns the whole Panamanian right side, intercepted at the last second
***Sidenote – it was Jimenez who took the shot at Freddy Adu that went unnoticed by the ref
86′ – Freddy Adu turns over a midfield square pass and Panama put together a nice counter, finding Aguilar with enough space to rocket a shot that misses just wide of Seitz’s right side
84′ – Last Sub for Panama
82′ – Altidore shows he has a little gas left in his tank, he weaves through a couple defenders – loses the ball – wins it back, but gets tripped up in the box after holding on to it for a little too long
81′ – Holden with a give and go on the left side of the field, almost cuts between two defenders but the ball ricochets off Torres calf
79′ – Altidore almost poke-tackles Sal Zizzo on a breakaway but is called for a foul
78′ – waiting for that second sub!? McCarty, Kljestan are starting to look a bit tired.
74′ – Holden rips a shot from 25 yards out that is parried away by Jose Calderon
72′ – is it me or does Altidore play a little better with fatigue? – a nice turn draws a foul and it was all Altidore
71′ – Roman Torres has done a nice job stopping Altidore and Adu at times; there’s a reason why this guy starts at central defense for Panama’s senior national team
69′ – nice Adu, Kljestan touches in the middle almost leads to a Zizzo breakaway
68′ – Second Sub for Panama
67′ – through ball from Adu to Holden almost sticks, Holden is a bit offside though
64′ – YEP, that’s what it is – Zizzo for a tired Gaven…not a terrible outing, just lost in a crowd for Eddie
63′ – ABOUT TIME!!!! Sal Zizzo looks to be coming on, possibly for Gaven.
61′ – Barahona (#10) has worked hard today, this time weaving through Sturgis and Edu and getting hacked down 20 yards out – nothing comes of the restart
60′ – Gaven gets open with a nice Kruyff, but botches a cross which Adu makes the most of, deflecting a shot off a Panamanian defender
59′ – good one v. one stop on Gabriel Torres by Maurice Edu
58′ – Quintero tries to work his way through a slalom of American defenders, dives, gets a card
***Sidenote – Is it me or does Bob Bradley NEVER look happy?
56′ – damnit, exactly what I don’t want to see – Freddy Adu gets hit hard in the chest by a Panama midfielder; up and walking after a minute or so on the ground
54′ – Holden takes the restart and misses wide left, good attempt though but Calderon sees it out
53′ – good!!! Altidore gets the ball in the corner and, normally, he would take the two men on – instead Jozy chooses to lay a ball back to a streaking Freddy Adu who gets leveled 20 yards out, setting the US for a good set piece – good to see Altidore recognize that he’s not exactly on point today…
51′ – apparently, Kljestan and Sturgis don’t like 50/50 balls, midfield is giving up too many stupid balls
50′ – Holden comes charging through to clear up a Freddy Adu mess; cuts beautifully by a Panama defender and lays it square to Gaven who forgets to shoot one time, immediately closed off
47′ – an errant deflection off the ensuing free kick almost skips by Jose Calderon, Calderon saves it though
46′ – Gaven tries to split two Panama defenders; gets leveled but also the free kick in the process
**Looks like no changes.
**Ready to go again here. Checking on the changes…
**I think it’s safe to say that Gabriel Torres and #10 are the only real threats for this team. They’ll only strike however if we allow them the build-up, which hasn’t really happened so far…
HALFTIME – This game is only going to get more physical and heated. I’m just hoping no one gets injured.
44′ – Panama comes back at the US, but Seitz manages the situation but gets a little bit of kick out from Gabriel Torres; the 6’4″ Seitz gets in Torres’ face, Torres swipes at him – tempers flare
42′ – GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!!!!!!!!!!! Freddy converts to Calderon’s left, mid-to-upper 90 – you gotta like the fact that even though Altidore is having a pretty bad game he still makes the most of his chances
42′ – Freddy Adu up for the penalty, Calderon with the booking
41′ – Eddie Gaven plays a sublime over-the-defense through ball in to ALTIDORE, one on one – Jozy almost screws it up with too big of a touch, but he flicks around Calderon and gets taken down!
40′ – this is like a field hockey game! a damn whistle EVERY TWO SECONDS…haha, imagine Marvell Wynne playing field hockey.
37′ – Gaven breaks the cardinal soccer rule – don’t clear the ball into the middle!
36′ – McCarty has most of the fouls and he’s all of what? 5’1″?
34′ – Altidore peeks his head through the clouds, only to be called for a handball – what’s goin’ on with him?
33′ – a possible penalty could have been called for the US, but Adu was taken down after he put his right stud up and almost into the Panama defender’s shin
30′ – two botched shots by McCarty and Adu, Gaven was open on the wing and sent a nice square pass in – getting closer!
30′ – verdict is still out on Orozco, but Sturgis seems to be passing the test on the wing
27′ – “I’d start calling him Little Braveheart”
26′ – Wynne…….ew……sad attempt at a cross
25′ – once again Holden wins a challenge that looked lost; Freddy Adu follows it up by getting stripped
23′ – no sign of Altidore and real urgency of getting it to him; I don’t think this lone striker tactic is going to last
22′ – a terrible pass by McCarty almost leads to a Panama long attempt
20′ – Adu shows up, dances a little, gets the restart – his cuts are ridiculous
18′ – Wynne with another clumsy challenge, getting a booking on this one
17′ – Holden is EVERYWHERE. Left, right, middle.
14′ – Wynne looks a little odd out there, but Holden is making for Wynne’s fumblings – chasing the loose balls, not giving up
12′ – I like what I’ve seen from Kljestan so far, a couple decent through balls
9′ – some dancing by Stuart Holden, only to get muscled off the ball – nice though
8′ – Roman Torres beats Maurice Edu to a corner and powers just over the cross bar…
7′ – the back four already look a little unsure, although it was nice to Nathan Sturgis break
down the wing
2′ – watch that Number 9 – Gabriel Torres is pretty damn good.
1′ – if only Dax McCarty was 6 inches taller. Adu sent in a real nice dangerous cross.

GAME ON.

*Not a soul on one side of the stadium. At least on Tuesday there were a couple.

*Honduras-Cuba ends 2-0

*Still pretty pissed we’re not seeing Sal Zizzo, but Holden and Gaven will have to do.

*Gretna of Scotland (former club of RSL’s Kenny Deuchar and Houston’s Tony Caig) is in deep deep trouble – a ten point deduction (which doesn’t really change the already inevitable relegation expected). They have said players can now legally leave the team as they are playing for nothing. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they’re stadium was broken into recently.

*Apparently Honduras is up 2-0 right now. Hendry Thomas, who scored the only goal in their win against Panama, has scored the 2nd goal.

PLEASE share your thoughts in the comments section…

United States Starting XI:

———————Seitz——————-

Wynne——Orozco—–Edu (c)——Sturgis

————McCarty—-Kljestan———–

Holden————–Adu————-Gaven

——————-Altidore——————

– Those are some significant changes. Almost a line change actually. Ianni gets no second chance and Nowak shared the consensus sentiment – Kamani Hill, Hunter Freeman, Robbie Findley, AND Charlie Davies didn’t cut it. This line-up looks odd, but it will work. Hopefully, Maurice Edu shows well in the back, but I’m pretty sure Kljestan can do the same job Edu was doing on Tuesday. Adu will most likely still play withdrawn, but there will be much more support for Altidore. Orozco gets his chance and for most of us, this will be our first time seeing him.

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Olympic Qualifying, USA vs. Panama: Beware of the Torres

PANAMA
No. – Name – Pos. – D.O.B. – Club
1 – Jose Calderón – GK – 14.08.1985 – Chepo FC
2 – Jean Carlos Cedeño – DF – 09.07.1985 – Municipal Chorrillo FC
3 – Reinaldo Anderson – DF – 12.04.1986 – Deportivo Árabe Unido
5 – Roman Torres – DF – 20.03.1986 – CD La Equidad/COL
6 – Erick Vásquez – DF – 08.01.1988 – Municipal Chorrillo FC
7 – Edwin Aguilar – AT – 07.08.1985 – Coastzacoalcos/MEX
8 – Cristian Vega – MD – 02.04.1985 – CD Plaza Amador
9 – Gabriel Torres – AT – 31.10.1988 – CD La Equidad/COL
10 – Nelson Barahona – MD – 22.11.1987 – C. Altetico Fenix/URU
11 – Aníbal Godoy – MD – 10.02.1990 – Arsenal/ARG
12 – Gilmar Torres – GK – 11.11.1985 – Alianza FC
13 – Adolfo Machado – DF – 14.02.1985 – Alianza FC
14 – Juan DeGracia – MD – 21.04.1990 – Chepo FC
15 – Rolando Algandona – DF – 12.04.1989 – San Francisco FC
16 – Alberto Quintero – AT – 18.12.1987 – Municipal Chorrillo FC
17 – Manuel Bonilla – MD – 09.04.1988 – Municipal Chorrillo FC
18 – Reggie Arosemena – MD – 09.09.1986 – Tauro FC
19 – Carlos Rodríguez – MD – 12.04.1990 – Defensor Sporting Club/URU
20 – Eduardo Jiménez – MD – 02.04.1986 – San Francisco FC
21 – Guillermo Murillo – GK – 04.11.1987 – Chepo FC
TD: Alexandre GUIMARAES

1-0 losers to Honduras doesn’t exactly make Panama push-overs and even if Panama were 3-0 losers, Altidore and company would still have to tread lightly. To deal with it and get the result early, you can expect to see Piotr Nowak go with two forwards up front and probably some changes in the back as well. According to most other sites, Patrick Ianni was dreadful (which I somewhat disagree with, at best he was serviceable) and Kamani Hill struggled mightily (he made it hard for himself, not the other way around). If a change is necessary, expect Marvell Wynne in for Hill.

Jozy Altidore – who took a beating against Cuba as the lone striker – is expected to suit up and you could expect either Findley or Davies up there with him. If Nowak was as displeased with Davies’ diving as I was, he could even put Kamani Hill up there. One thing being thrown around is Maurice Edu moving to central defense as it seems he spent most his time close to there in the Cuban encounter anyway. Nowak should stick to his guns in this situation. Ianni needs a game to settle and, clearly, he doesn’t have time as a luxury but the Houston defender should make the most of his second chance. If you move Edu to the back, however, you place McCarty back at holding midfielder and give Stuart Holden and Sal Zizzo the chance to terrorize the wings. I just don’t know if I can give Findley and Davies another chance on the wings, but you never know…

Projected Line-Up (Actually, who I’d like to see…)

——–Altidore—–Davies——–

—————Adu—————-

Holden———Edu———–Zizzo

Freeman—-Ianni—–Sturgis—-Hill

————–Seitz—————

For Panama, it is a must-win situation and they have the speed and athleticism to capitalize on any mistakes the United States might make. They have an experienced and highly touted Roman Torres in the back. The La Equidad propsect looked solid against Honduras, but he needs to rally his defense into keeping disciplined and frugal, not making runs that aren’t needed which is what hurt them on Tuesday. The fullbacks trekked forward only to be caught napping on the counter attack. The 21-year old has already grabbed 14 caps for the senior national team and would be your man to mark Altidore (especially if Nowak opted for the single striker tactic again). He, alongside 2007 Gold Cup Best XI pick Filipe Baloy, started all three of Panama’s group stage matches, making it to the second round where they lost out to the United States, 2-1. You can expect that Torres will have the desire to tackle hard. A couple other U-23 members have recently been brought up for senior national team duty, midfielder Reggie Arosemena and goalkeeper Jose Calderon. If things are working the way they should be Nowak, Calderon should be a very busy person. Forward Gabriel Torres – who also plies his trade for La Equidad in Colombia – could pose a threat if Ianni, Sturgis, or whoever is back there are off-kilter. Torres was the captain of Panama’s U-20 team at the World Cup in Canada this past summer. No idea if there’s a relation between Gabriel and Roman (Torres is kind of a popular last name), but it seems there could be considering they both play for the same club (or not…).  

Key Players to Watch:

DF Roman Torres
GK Jose Calderon
FW Gabriel Torres

TUNE IN AT 8:00pm, FOX SOCCER CHANNEL…might go with the LiveBlog tonight.