Watch all the goals and key plays as the Gregg Berhalter era begins for the USMNT in a friendly vs. Panama.

By Avi Creditor
January 27, 2019

The Gregg Berhalter era began with a win for the U.S. men's national team, with the Americans defeating Panama 3-0 in the manager's first match.

Djordje Mihailovic, Walker Zimmerman and Christian Ramirez scored in the friendly between the two Concacaf foes at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Both featured experimental squads, with each turning the page after differing World Cup cycles. Berhalter took over in December for Dave Sarachan after a 13-month run as caretaker in the aftermath of the USA's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Panama, which took part in its first World Cup last summer and endured a group-stage exit, has moved on from a number of its stalwart veterans and is playing under interim coach Gary Stempel.

The U.S. absorbed some early pressure from Panama after a turnover from Jeremy Ebobisse in the opening minute but ultimately dealt with a pair of Panama crosses and broke forward with possession to relieve any tension. Ebobisse was one of five U.S. starters earning his first cap on the night, joining Nick Lima, Mihailovic, Corey Baird and Daniel Lovitz.

The USA's best chance came in the eighth minute after a sequence that started with the build-up in the back. After taking a pass from Michael Bradley, Cristian Roldan wound up slicing down the center before spraying a pass wide left for Ebobisse, who is more of a target player with the Portland Timbers. His cross picked out Gyasi Zardes in the center of the box, but the Columbus Crew forward's header sailed just high of the bar, keeping it 0-0.

Bradley and Roldan combined again in the 18th minute, with Roldan opting to fire from outside the box instead of sliding in a pass for either Zardes or Baird, who were making their runs in behind. Roldan wound up forcing a rather simple save on his bouncing chance, made by Panama goalkeeper Eddie Roberts.

The USA came close again in the 25th minute. Roldan got in behind down the right and crossed for Zardes, who held it up with his back to goal before laying off a pass to Baird. The reigning MLS Rookie of the Year side-footed his chance wide of the right post from the edge of the box, though.

Moments later, Zardes set up Lima with a similar chance off a Panama turnover, and the San Jose Earthquakes defender sent his chance with the same trajectory of Baird's: low and wide of the post. 

Zack Steffen was forced into his first save in the 35th minute after an extended bout of possession in the final third. It wound up with Abdiel Arroyo swinging in a right-footed shot from inside the box, but the Man City-bound goalkeeper was there to make the stop on his knees.

The U.S. got the opener it was looking for five minutes later. Off another Panama turnover, the U.S. pounced, with Lima picking out Zardes just outside the box. Zardes got taken out of the play but was able to find Baird to his right as he went to ground. The Real Salt Lake star slid a pass centrally for Mihailovic, and the 20-year-old Chicago Fire midfielder put his chance by a diving Roberts, making it 1-0 USA with the first international goal of his career.

Panama nearly struck for the equalizer in the 55th minute. The visitors pushed, with Edson Samms getting a golden chance from a left-sided angle, but Steffen extended his left arm and got his forearm to the shot, tipping it away for a corner.

Mihailovic, meanwhile, went looking for his second on a long-range blast, but Roberts made the save on the hour mark. It was his last act of the match, coming out from Sebastian Lletget in the USA's first substitution. 

Lletget brought some immediate energy, completing a forceful run from the left sideline through the middle before finding Zardes with a deft touch. The forward's chance was hit right Roberts, and he sailed his follow-up off the rebound high of the target to keep it 1-0 in the 65th minute.

The U.S. managed to double the lead in the 80th minute, though. Panama thought it had cleared a corner and embarked on a counterattack, but Lima came up with a perfect sliding tackle, recovered the ball and delivered a pinpoint cross into the center of the box, where LAFC defender Walker Zimmerman headed home to make it 2-0.

The Americans polished off the victory with a goal from Christian Ramirez, with the LAFC forward scoring five minutes after coming on. Another debuting player, NYCFC winger Jonathan Lewis, did the heavy lifting by taking on and beating his defender before crossing from the left for Ramirez, who scored from six yards out to cap the scoring.

Here were the lineups for both sides:

Here were the full rosters for both nations:


GOALKEEPERS: Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)

DEFENDERS: Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Keegan Rosenberry (Colorado Rapids), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)

MIDFIELDERS: Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Russell Canouse (D.C. United), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC), Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)

FORWARDS: Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Christian Ramirez (LAFC), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)


GOALKEEPERS: Eddie Roberts (CAI La Chorrera), Orlando Mosquera (Tauro FC)

DEFENDERS: Francisco Palacios (San Francisco FC), Iván Anderson (Tauro FC), José Garibaldi (Deportivo Árabe Unido), Édgar Góndola (Costa del Este FC), Guillermo Benítez (CD Plaza Amador), Fidel Escobar (Unattached)

MIDFIELDERS: Edson Samms (Costa del Este FC), Luis Cañate (Deportivo Árabe Unido), Carlos Harvey (Tauro FC), Ernesto Walker (CD Plaza Amador), Ángel Orelién (Sporting SM), Omar Browne (CAI La Chorrera), Adalberto Carrasquilla (Tauro FC), Rolando Botello (Tauro FC)

FORWARDS: Ernesto Sinclair (Costa del Este FC); Abdiel Arroyo (Unattached)

The U.S. men conclude their winter camp next Saturday with a friendly against Costa Rica. The match will be played at the San Jose Earthquakes' Avaya Stadium at 3:30 p.m. ET. 

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)