The U.S. men's national team is no stranger to Panama in the Gold Cup, and the two sides dueled in another close battle, settling for a 1-1 draw to open Group B play in the biennial competition in Nashville, Tennessee.
The U.S. beat Panama in the 2013 Gold Cup final, while Panama exacted a measure of revenge in the third-place game in 2015, forcing the U.S. to settle for a disappointing fourth-place finish. They most recently played to a 1-1 draw in World Cup qualifying in Panama City in March.
NYCFC's Miguel Camargo threatened early for Panama Saturday, running onto a long diagonal out of the back and beating right back Graham Zusi, but his first touch allowed U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan to come off his line and claim the ball to snuff out the third-minute half-chance.
Kellyn Acosta carved out a half-chance for the USA later on in the half, following a short corner routine that he started. After receiving the return pass from Dax McCarty, Acosta whipped in a powerful shot-cross, one parried away by Panama goalkeeper Jose Calderon.
Both teams had their best chances in quick succession in the 26th and 27th minutes. First, Jorge Villafaña cut back a pass for Kelyn Rowe, whose blast was swatted to safety by Calderon. On the ensuing counter, Camargo had space to try and curl a shot from the edge of the box, but a diving Guzan tipped it around the post for a corner.
In the 33rd minute, the U.S. enjoyed more success attacking down the left-hand side, with Dwyer turning from close range only to have his chance blocked.
With halftime approaching, Acosta came close to putting the U.S. ahead, with his low chance from 20 yards skimming just wide of the mark.
Panama forward Ismael Diaz answered with a chance just before the final whistle, beating Alejandro Bedoya to a long diagonal out of the back before firing a chance toward goal, but it suffered the same fate as Acosta's–going wide and not troubling the opposing goalkeeper.
The USA opened the scoring through Dwyer, who made good on his first chance of the second half. Rowe did the heavy lifting, splitting a pair of defenders with some nifty skill in the left corner to open up room for the cross. The New England Revolution midfielder whipped in the ball for Dwyer, who hit it on a half-turn with his first touch to make it 1-0 USA in the 50th minute.
Panama pushed for the equalizer, missed a golden chance for a rebound on the goal line through Diaz, but was eventually awarded for its response 10 minutes later.
Camargo pounced on a rebound after a save from Guzan appeared to snuff out another Panama threat. Both Rowe and Zusi were beaten as Gabriel Torres fired on goal, and while Guzan was able to parry it away, Camargo was there first to fire it home.
There was a bit of controversy in the 83rd minute, when Bedoya went down in the box after appearing to be shoved in the back, but no penalty was given, and the teams played on, with neither able to break through for a winner and both taking a point from the game.
Both will play Martinique and Nicaragua in their remaining group games.
Here are the tournament rosters for both teams:
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)
DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)
GOALKEEPERS: Jose Calderon (CD Marathon); Orlando Mosquera (Tauro FC); Alex Rodriguez (San Francisco FC)
DEFENDERS: Roberto Chen (Deportivo Arabe Unido); Eric Davis (FC DAC 1904 DunajskA Streda); Fidel Escobar (Unattached); Roderick Miller (Atlético Nacional); Michael Amir Murillo (New York Red Bulls); Luis Ovalle (Unattached); Angel Patrick (Deportivo Arabe Unido); Jan Carlos Vargas (Tauro FC)
MIDFIELDERS: Edgar Yoel Barcenas (Cafetaleros de Tapachula); Miguel Camargo (New York City FC); Armando Cooper (Toronto FC); Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes); Gabriel Gomez (Atlético Bucaramanga); Leslie Heraldez (Deportivo Arabe Unido); Josiel Nuñez (CD Plaza Amador); Valentin Pimentel (CD Plaza Amador)
FORWARDS: Abdiel Arroyo (Danubio FC); Ricardo Clarke (Unattached); Ismael Diaz (FC Porto); Gabriel Torres (FC Lausanne-Sport)