The USA missed about half a dozen chances to put the game beyond doubt. Clint Dempsey was most egregious missing a point blank header and then committing a mind numbing miss in front of an open goal. In between he skewered a couple of wild shots in a forgettable display of errant marksmanship.
After yet another miss he managed a rueful smile. It was that kind of night when you wish you stayed home. Landon Donovan was also off with a uncharacteristic miss as he scooped a ball over goal when a simple tap would have sufficed.
The goal came very early and from out of nowhere as Jozy Altidore collecting a pass from Michael Bradley rocketed the ball from distance. Franck Grandel who had made a very fine save a few minutes ago did not move a muscle. That was the only blip in the Guadelope goalie’s performance as he kept the deficit from getting larger with some timely stops.
Kyle Martino, the colour commentator kept harping repeatedly about the many US starters with tired legs because of the extra minutes played but there was Steve Cherundolo proving him wrong as he kept churning down the right side from start to finish putting in quality crosses and keeping Loic Loval and Cedric Collet quiet.
On the other flank Bob Bradley finally gave Eric Lichaj is due with the Villa wing back installed in his usual position. Carlos Bocanegra was moved inside paired with Clarence Goodson. The switch gave solidity and with Lichaj using his pace the USA looked far more adventurous in possession. The US manager also paired Chris Wondolowski with Altidore and the San Jose striker was able to get a few good looks at goal but was unable to finish.
The USA now meet Jamaica who breezed past their opponents in Group A and if this match is any indication of future profligacy then they’re in a world of trouble. Jamaica, Honduras, and Mexico have shown they’ve moved to another level. Panama serves as reminder that the US was not even the best in their group despite all the jingoistic chest beating of the FSC commentators.