CHICAGO — Brek Shea came off the bench to net the lone goal in a 1-0 Unites States win over Panama on Sunday in the final of the Gold Cup at Soldier Field.
The Americans dominated possession throughout the match as Panama packed things in defensively and attempted to counter.
And although the tactic seemed to frustrate the U.S. a bit, the breakthrough finally came in the 69th minute after Shea had just been introduced.
Panama was bidding to win its first Gold Cup after twice beating Mexico in this year’s tournament on its way to the final.
But the Americans won the crown for the fifth time, and in the process, managed to extend their record winning streak to 11 games.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was suspended for Sunday’s final after he was sent off late in the semifinal win over Honduras on Wednesday, and the boss watched from the stands as the first half saw few chances of note for either side.
Things began to open up for the U.S. shortly before the hour mark as DaMarcus Beasley’s left-wing cross was headed wide by Landon Donovan from six yards, with Alejandro Bedoya also threatening the net with a header in the 67th.
Shea came onto the field in the 68th minute and he made an immediate impact when Donovan was able to redirect a low ball played into the penalty area from Bedoya past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
The ball was already on its way toward the net but Shea made sure by tapping it over the line from a few yards to put the U.S. in front.
American goalkeeper Nick Rimando wasn’t very busy on the day with the U.S. defense able to repel any threat from Panama without too much difficulty.