FOOTBALL: Gold Cup group stage finishes with Mexico, Haiti and U.S. perfect, as U.S. beats Panama, 1-0

In front of a boisterous crowd in Kansas City, the U.S. men ran out an entirely new line-up and came away with a 1-0 win over Panama to close out Gold Cup group play.

The U.S. controlled most of the game, but couldn’t get a goal. In the 66th minute, midfield star Christian Pulisic was inserted into the game and on the next play, a corner kick from Djordje Mihailovic was headed into the box, flew off the heads of Panama defenders Fidel Escobar and Kevin Galvan and then Jozy Altidore executed a perfect bicycle kick for the game’s only score.

The U.S. improved to 14-1-6 vs. Panama all-time and 6-1-4 in the Gold Cup.

The victory left the U.S., Haiti and Mexico as the only perfect teams left in the tournament, now headed into the quarterfinals. The group stage (records are W-L-T):

Group A: 1. Mexico, 9 points (3-0); 2. Canada, 6 (2-1); 3. Martinique, 3 (1-2); 4. Cuba, 0 (0-3).

Group B: 1. Haiti, 9 (3-0); 2. Costa Rica, 6 (2-1); 3. Bermuda, 3 (1-2); 4. Nicaragua, 0 (0-3)

Group C: 1. Jamaica, 5 (1-0-2); 2. Curacao, 4 (1-1-1); 3. El Salvador, 4 (1-1-1); 4. Honduras, 3 (1-2)

Group D: 1. United States, 9 (3-0); 2. Panama, 6 (2-1); 3. Guyana, 1 (0-2-1); 4. Trinidad & Tobago, 1 (0-2-1).

The U.S. was especially impressive as the only team to shut out all three opponents and had 11-0 goal differential, the best in group play; Mexico was +10 with 13 scored and three allowed.

The quarters:

29 June: Haiti vs. Canada and Mexico vs. Costa Rica in Houston
30 June: Jamaica vs. Panama and U.S. vs. Curacao in Philadelphia

The semis will be on 2-3 July and the final on 7 July in Chicago.

Look for results and statistics here.

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