Americans use 2nd-half surge to beat Panama 4-0
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 07, 2015 12:27 PM
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Sports Writer
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) — Substitute Jerome Kiesewetter sparked the offense with a goal and an assist in the second half, and the United States beat Panama 4-0 in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying on a rainy Tuesday night.
Already through to the semifinal round, the Americans didn't have much to play for and rested several of their starters. Scoreless at halftime, the U.S. caught a break early in the second half when Panama defender Fidel Escobar knocked in a crossing shot. Kiesewetter then scored three minutes later and Jordan Morris right after that.
Luis Gil wrapped up the scoring by converting a penalty kick, helping the Americans advance out of Group A with a 3-0 record. Canada finished second.
Next up for the U.S. is an important game Saturday in Sandy, Utah, where the semifinal winners automatically qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next summer. It will play Mexico or Honduras, which face each other Wednesday night with the winner taking over the top spot in Group B.
U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath had a rather quiet night as a steady rain fell most of the evening. Not so for Elieser Powell, who kept Panama close in the first half with one splendid save after another, including one where he tipped a ball over the crossbar.
There was a scary moment for the Americans near the end of the first half, when midfielder Maki Tall was tackled hard from behind and had to be carried off the field on a stretcher. He returned a few minutes later.
Gboly Ariyibi sent the pass into the middle that hit off Escobar's leg and went into the goal to start the scoring spree.
With nothing really on the line in this contest, the U.S. gave goalkeeper Zack Steffen and defender Matthew Miazga the night off. Kiesewetter sat out the first half.
Kiesewetter and Morris both have three goals and two assists in Olympic qualifying. They lead all goal scorers in the tournament.
Midfielder Marc Pelosi didn't play after needing stitches in his shin following a hard tackle in the Cuba match last Saturday in Kansas City, Kansas.