CARSON, Calif. – Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey scored as the U.S. National Team snapped a three-game losing streak and picked up their first win of 2015 with a 2-0 victory over Panama in front of 20,170 at StubHub Center on Sunday.
Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes earned his first start for the USMNT in his second full international appearance while LA goalkeeper Jaime Penedo made his 100th appearance for Los Canaleros. Penedo joined long-time Panamanian midfielder Gabriel Gomez as one of just two players to earn 100 caps for Panama.
Bradley gave the U.S. the lead in the 27th minute with a curling corner kick that bent sharply on Penedo to give the Toronto FC man his 13th career goal for the Stars and Stripes.
Just 10 minutes later, the Americans doubled their lead as Zardes played the playmaker with a brilliant bit of distribution.
From near the center circle, Zardes charged up field and then dished a through-ball to Dempsey who finished his attempt from close-range. The Seattle Sounders FC forward now has 40 goals all-time for the U.S. and is currently the top active goal scorer for the USMNT.
Panama resorted to overly physical tactics as the match moved into the second half, but the approach paid little dividends as the U.S. continued to control possession. The Americans nearly added to their lead in the 68th minute when San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski mishit a chance near goal in what was the most dangerous attempt of the second half for Klinsmann’s men.
Both teams made substitutions throughout the second half, but the Americans did pick up two injuries as Jozy Altidore exited with a hamstring injury while DeAndre Yedlin was also forced to depart after a harsh tackle midway through the half.
For his role in aiding the American victory, U.S. Soccer awarded Zardes as the game’s Man of the Match.
The U.S. will continue their preparations for this summer’s 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup when they take on Denmark on March 25 in Arhus. The match is part of a two-game European swing that will conclude with a trip to Zurich to take on Switzerland six days later.