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FOOTBALL: U.S. man’s National Team sails past Panama in debut for coach Gregg Berhalter

It was only a friendly, with five first-time national-team players for the U.S. and six for Panama, but a win is a win and the U.S. will take it: 3-0 over Panama in Glendale, Arizona.

It was the first game and first win for new U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter, himself a U.S. National Team players with 44 appearances from 1994-2006.

The U.S. was easily the better team for almost the entire match. The U.S. was more aggressive and created several good chances in the first half, mostly around striker Gyasi Zardes in the middle of the box, notably in the 25th minute.

The American side got the only goal of the first half on a brilliant cross from the right side by debut midfielder Corey Baird into the middle of the field, which was rocketed into the goal off the right foot of another debutante, Djordje Mihailovic, in the 40th minute.

The U.S. had control of the game throughout the second half. Rookie defender Nick Lima made a brilliant play on a takeaway tackle, then sent a perfect ball to the front of goal, where Walker Zimmerman headed it in for a 2-0 lead in the 80th minute.

The U.S. got a final goal in the 89th minute, as first-time U.s. midfielder Jonathan Lewis flew down the left side and left-footed a pass right in front of goal that was tapped in by rookie striker Christian Ramirez for the 3-0 finale.

The U.S. will play again next Saturday in San Jose, California against Costa Rica, a team that hammered the U.S. in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

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