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Global Jan 28, 2019

U.S. MNT opens Gregg Berhalter era with 3-0 win over Panama

GLENDALE, Ariz. (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Men’s National Team used goals from debutants Djordje Mihailovic and Christian Ramirez, along with one from Walker Zimmerman to begin its new era under head coach Gregg Berhalter with a 3-0 win against Panama at State Farm Stadium. With the result, the USA moves to 13-1-6 all-time against Los Canaleros.

Making his own debut on the touchline, Berhalter ran out a starting XI with five players making their first senior team appearance, tying a record previously set on Sept. 3, 1992 against Canada. A textbook counter attack after a turnover at midfield led to debutant Corey Baird setting up Mihailovic for the opening goal in the 40th minute. On the other side of halftime, fellow first-timer Nick Lima’s alert cross found the head of Walker Zimmerman in the 80th minute, before substitute Jonathan Lewis connected with another debutante, Christian Ramirez to close the scoring in the 89th minute.

Before the opening strike came, the USA showed progress in executing upon the three weeks of learning and training in Berhalter’s new style of play, improving as the half went on.

In the eighth minute, an eight-pass sequence culminated when Cristian Roldan switched the field for Jeremy Ebobisse on the left. The debutant winger swung a cross in for Gyasi Zardes who nodded his open look just over the bar.

Roldan continued to be a catalyst for danger in the 25th minute when his cross from the right was headed away by Panama captain Fidel Escobar, only to be nodded back into the area by Baird. Zardes received the ball and played back for Baird, but the attacker pulled his first-time effort just past the right post. A minute later, Roldan, Baird and Zardes combined again, this time providing a pass to Lima, but he also pulled a first-time blast wide of the post.

Then, Mihailovic’s 40th-minute goal made the 20-year-old midfielder the 52nd MNT player to score in his debut.

Making three halftime substitutions, Panama’s best chance came in the 56 th minute when Abdiel Arroyo’s deflected shot fell for Edson Samms on the left where his quick effort was pushed past the right post and out for a corner kick by Zack Steffen.

Playing to impress until the final whistle, the USA grabbed a second goal when Lima played a picture-perfect cross into the area for Zimmerman. The tall center back rose above the rest to nod home his second international goal in the 80th minute.

Two more first-timers got in on the action just before full-time as Jonathan Lewis did well to break free on the left and center the ball for fellow substitute Ramirez, leaving the striker with an easy tap-in to close the scoring in the 89th minute.

The MNT closes out its month-long camp against regional foe Costa Rica on Saturday, Feb. 2 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif. Kickoff for USA-Costa Rica is set for 3:30 p.m. ET, with the match to be broadcast on FOX, UniMas and UDN.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Djordje Mihailovic (Corey Baird), 40th minute: A pair of debutants connected for the first goal of 2019. The USA pounced on a turnover at midfield and quickly transitioned to unbalance the back line as Nick Lima pushed the ball forward into the box for Zardes. Slightly upended on the pass, Zardes did enough to help the ball along to Baird on the right, who then threaded it through to Mihailovic for a one-time finish. USA 1, PAN 0 [WATCH]

USA – Walker Zimmerman (Nick Lima), 80th minute: A corner kick was cleared out of the area, and Panama looked to counter attack, but Lima was on hand to win the ball back with a crucial tackle. He then played the ball back into the penalty box, where Walker Zimmerman rose above the rest to nod home his second career goal. USA 2, PAN 0 [WATCH]

USA – Christian Ramirez (Jonathan Lewis), 89th minute: Two more first-timers got in on the action just before full-time as Jonathan Lewis did well to break free on the left and center a cross for fellow substitute Christian Ramirez, leaving the striker with an easy tap-in to close the scoring in the 89th minute. USA 3, PAN 0 [WATCH] FINAL.

Key Save and Defensive Plays:
PAN – Eddie Roberts, 17th minute: A throw-in on the left saw Jeremy Ebobisse and Djordje Mihailovic combine before laying off for Michael Bradley. The veteran midfielder received the pass and played a quick ball into the path of Cristian Roldan, who took his space and fired an effort from distance that Roberts got down to hold.

USA – Zack Steffen, 35th minute: After a spell of possession in the U.S. end, Francisco Palacios fed Ernesto Walker towards the end line where he cut back a cross for Abdiel Arroyo. The Panama striker took a touch and hit a low blast that Steffen was equal to at the near post.

USA – Zack Steffen, 56th minute: Panama kept the USA honest early in the second half when Abdiel Arroyo’s shot deflected off Aaron Long and fell for Edson Samms on the left. The substitute attacker took a settling touch before blasting an effort which Steffen stretched out to push past the right post.

PAN – Eddie Roberts, 66th minute: Substitute Sebastian Lletget made an immediate impact, providing a strong run up the right, moving past a number of Panama defenders before slipping Zardes into the box on the left. The striker’s first shot was well saved by Roberts before Zardes put his rebound over the net.

Additional Notes: 

  • With his 40th minute strike, Djordje Mihailovic became the 52 nd player to score in his MNT debut.
  • Christian Ramirez then became the 53rd player to tally in an MNT debut when he capped the scoring in the 89th minute.
  • Walker Zimmerman’s 80th minute goal was the second of his international career.
  • Debutants Corey Baird, Nick Lima and Jonathan Lewis registered their first career assists on Mihailoic, Zimmerman and Ramirez’s goals, respectively.
  • Gregg Berhalter joined Bora Milutinovic (1-0 W vs. Uruguay; May 5, 1991) and Bob Bradley (3-1 W vs. Denmark; Jan. 20, 2007) to become the third MNT head coach in the modern era to win his managerial debut.
  • The Starting XI had an average age of 25 years, 11 days.
  • For just the second time in the modern era, five starters made their MNT debuts: defenders Nick Lima and Daniel Lovitz, along with midfielders Corey Baird, Jeremy Ebobisse and Djordje Mihailovic. The first instance occurred on Sept. 3, 1992, when future World Cup players Cobi Jones, Joe-Max Moore, Brad Friedel, Mike Burns and Mike Lapper started in the USA’s 2-0 win at Canada in St. Johns.
  • Along with substitutes Jonathan Lewis and Christian Ramirez, a total of seven players debuted for the MNT against Panama. The figure comes in as the second-most debuts in one match, behind the eight that debuted for the USA in the Sept. 3, 1992 contest against Canada.
  • Center back Aaron Long captained the USA for the first time.
  • Goalkeepers Zack Steffen and Sean Johnson combined for four saves to keep the clean sheet.
  • Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman partnered in central defense for the second-straight match.
  • Along with making his international debut, Daniel Lovitz also became the first member of the Montreal Impact to earn a cap for the MNT.
  • Jeremy Ebobisse became the sixth player from the USA’s 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup squad to earn a cap with the MNT. The others: Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Erik Palmer-Brown and Josh Sargent.
  • With the MNT dressing 20 players, Marky Delgado, Mark McKenzie and Keegan Rosenberry were scratches from the matchday squad.
  • Prior to kickoff, the teams observed a moment of silence and USA players wore black armbands to honor the life and legacy of coaching legend and National Soccer Hall of Fame member, Sigi Schmid.
  • The MNT improves to 13-1-6 all-time against Panama and moves to 3-1-1 all-time at State Farm Stadium.

– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Panama
Date: January 27, 2019
Competition:International Friendly
Venue:State Farm Stadium; Glendale, Ariz.
Kickoff:8 p.m. ET (6 p.m. local time)
Weather:66 degrees; partly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1    2    F
USA                          1    2    3
PAN                          0    0    0

USA – Djordje Mihailovic (Cory Baird)            40th Minute
USA – Walker Zimmerman (Nick Lima)          80
USA – Christian Ramirez (Jonathan Lewis)   88

USA: 1-Zack Steffen (12-Sean Johnson, 74); 2-Nick Lima, 25-Walker Zimmerman, 3-Aaron Long (capt.), 5-Daniel Lovitz; 4-Michael Bradley (6-Wil Trapp 84); 10-Cristian Roldan, 8-Djordje Mihailovic (17-Sebastian Lletget, 62); 7-Corey Baird (14-Paul Arriola, 75), 9-Gyasi Zardes (21-Christian Ramirez, 84), 11-Jeremy Ebobisse (18-Jonathan Lewis, 66)
Substitutes not used: 13-Reggie Cannon, 16-Russell Canouse, 23-Auston Trusty
Head Coach: Gregg Berhalter

PAN: 1-Eddie Roberts (12-Orlando Mosquera, 74); 3-Guillermo Benítez (17-Iván Anderson, 46), 4-Fidel Escobar (capt.), 13-Édgar Góndola, 2-Francisco Palacios; 11-Luis Cañate (7-Ángel Orelién, 65), 8-Adalberto Carrasquilla (14-Carlos Harvey, 46), 6-Ernesto Walker (20-Rolando Botello, 71), 10-Omar Browne (16-Edson Samms, 46); 9-Ernesto Sinclair, 18-Abdiel Arroyo
Substitutes not used: 15-José Garibaldi
Head coach: Gary Stempel

Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots: 17 / 10
Shots on Goal: 6 / 4
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 3
Offside: 1 / 0

Referee: Adonai Escobedo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Martinez (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Michel Morales (MEX)
4th Official: Diego Montano (MEX)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Nick Lima

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