Disappointed US faces Panama in Gold Cup 3rd-place game

United States’ Clint Dempsey (8) and Jamaica’s Je-Vaughn Watson (15) vie for at the ball during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer semifinal, Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Earlier this week, Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman said that “they might consider re-naming this year’s Gold Cup the Caribbean Cup” because, for the first time in tournament history, four of the eight quarterfinalists in the biennial regional championship are from the Caribbean—Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Jamaica foiled the championship matchup that the U.S. had been expecting. Now, the U.S will face Panama in the match Saturday in Philadelphia. On Sunday, the Reggae Boyz will face Mexico, a 2-1 winner over Panama in overtime.

According to the Los Angeles Times: Mexico and the U.S. share all but one of the dozen Cup titles and were substantial co-favorites to duel for this one. [. . .] The Americans floated in on the tailwind of a quarterfinal pounding of Cuba, which played without five apparent defectors. For Jamaica, there were no defectors and too few defects for the U.S. to capitalize on.

Ever the tinkerer, Klinsmann tweaked the lineup, which resulted in two lightly experienced players as centerbacks, and the formation. Afterward, the coach dismissed any notion he is guided too much by player evaluation for the next World Cup qualifying and not enough by results in lesser events such as the Gold Cup.

Meanwhile, Yahoo Sports reports that coach Jurgen Klinsmann is trying different lineups and plays in preparation for the 2018 World Cup; see excerpts here:

Asked what winning the third-place game at the CONCACAF Gold Cup would mean, U.S. captain Michael Bradley paused for a moment, then said softly, ”Not much.” The midfielder quickly added that pride and competitiveness would keep the Americans playing hard against a short-handed Panama squad, a promise repeated often by his teammates and coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Friday. Once the U.S. was stunned by Jamaica in the semifinals, cutting short its bid to repeat as Gold Cup champion, Saturday’s third-place match was left to build momentum and try out different lineups.

In many ways, those are always objectives for Klinsmann as he seeks to develop a squad that can contend against the world’s best. For a coach in his position, the trick is to win enough in the short term to stick around to possibly see through those long-term results.

”We want to continue the process toward 2018,” he said about the next World Cup. ”This is Year 1 after the World Cup in Brazil, a year of rebuilding the pieces and bringing in young, new players, trying a lot of things out.”

For full articles, see http://sports.yahoo.com/news/disappointed-us-faces-panama-gold-cup-3rd-place-215130162–sow.html, http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/mls/article27551974.html, and  http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usa-jamaica-gold-cup-semifinal-20150722-story.html

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