The United States have claimed a 1-0 victory over Panama in the semifinals of Gold Cup, which is not the least bit surprising. The game winning goal was scored by Clint Dempsey, which is also not the least bit surprising. What is surprising is the manner that the goal was scored and the game was won, as Freddy Adu put in a fantastic performance and Landon Donovan provided the game winning assist...off the bench.
It's hard to tell whether this performance means that Landon Donovan will start the next match or if they'll keep him on the bench in the final based on results, but in any event, his performance in the second half was fantastic. Adu started the move that created the game winning goal in the second half with a fantastic through ball through two defenders, down the right flank to Donovan from the center of the pitch. Donovan ran onto the ball and found Dempsey at the far post, who touched the ball into the goal. The United States only created one goal, but it would be the only goal they needed.
Panama pushed forward and caused problems for the USMNT at the end of the game, but they never created a clear-cut goal scoring opportunity as the United States closed out the game. Dempsey was great for 90 minutes and Donovan was very good off the bench, but the real story of the game was the resurgence of Freddy Adu. He was spectacular off the bench, leaving United States fans wondering what's to come from the still only 22 year old playmaker.
There's still one more game tonight in Houston, as Mexico takes on Honduras in tonight's other semifinal. The winner of that game will face the United States this Saturday in the Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl.