Coming off of a solid, yet unspectacular win over Canada in the first game of their 2011 Gold Cup campaign, the United States will be looking to improve on their play and build momentum against a Panama side who has proven that they are equally dangerous and vulnerable.
In their first Gold Cup game, Panama got off to a big 3-0 lead against Guadaloupe, as veteran strikers Blas Perez and Luis Tejada combined brilliantly. However, they took their foot off the gas and allowed Guadaloupe to score twice with ten men. A highly inconsistent level of defensive effort isn't going to cut it against the United States, and it seems highly likely that if Panama took a lead against the United States, they wouldn't be so quick to let it go.
Panama are not a deep team and their defense is not spectacular, but their best player is a central defender. Felipe Baloy of Santos Laguna was one of the key cogs in that team's run to two Mexican Primera final appearances in the last three tournaments, and his physically imposing figure should cause problems for the American strikers.
It seems unlikely that Bob Bradley would make wholesale changes to his team after they looked solid against Canada, especially because most of the players that he selected are seemingly permanent fixtures in the team. The only change that seems like it might be coming is Juan Agudelo moving to the bench, either for Chris Wondolowski or for a midfielder, which would move Clint Dempsey into a second striker's role. Bradley could very well make no changes, and it would be shocking to see more than one or two.
Canada vs. Guadeloupe
Canada played like a team who knew they were inferior to the United States in the first game, as their midfielders backed off of the United States and Simeon Jackson was left isolated. Whether it be in either personnel or mentality, Stephen Hart needs to make changes to his side. It would be surprising to see the Canucks look so tame and passive against a Guadeloupe side that they have beat for talent. Look for Dwyane De Rosario and Josh Simpson to come out of their shells.