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USMNT trains in Tampa, sets sights on Panama

USA practice 1 (Reuters) 


TAMPA, Fla. – The U.S. men's national team began preparations for its second Goup C match on a sunny and hot morning in Central Florida on Thursday, gearing up to play a Panama team it knows quite well.

The United States will battle Panama for the ninth team in the two teams' history, and eighth time in the last eight years. The Americans have never lost to Los Canaleros, compiling a 6-0-2 record in which the U.S. team has scored 18 goals while only allowing four.

That doesn't mean the United States is overlooking its familiar foe, though.

"They always give us a tough match-up," said Landon Donovan, who scored a penalty kick against the Panamanians in a 2-1 win in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Gold Cup. "Athletically, they're challenging and they do a pretty good job tactically of making the game hard against us.

"I think we've beaten them a few times in a row but its always close games. They're a good team, they have a lot of experience. People forget how much experience (their) group of players have now. It's been basically the same team for five, six, seven, eight years. It's going to be a difficult game and we expect a tough test."

Just as they did against Canada on Tuesday, the Americans are hoping to set the tone against Panama from the opening whistle. That approach is what the U.S. team believes will give it the upperhand at Raymond James Stadium.

"I think we pushed the tempo (versus Canada) and for us that seems the best way of going about it," said Tim Howard. "I'm hopeful that's what we do on Saturday."

Should the Americans be successful in their attempt to start strong, and should they win the game, they'll likely have the luxury of resting the regulars in the final group match against Guadeloupe. That would also possibly open the door for some of the backups, like Eric Lichaj and Freddy Adu, to get playing time.

"Our goal from the beginning was to make sure we win these (first two) games and give ourselves a chance to finish first in the group and potentially rest depending on how the other results go," said Donovan. "But regardless you want to ensure you've qualified by the second game if at all possible and then it would be nice if there's a chance to rest guys and get other guys some minutes that we're going to use later in the tournament."

Here are some other news and notes from Thursday's practice:

  • Landon Donovan trained lightly during the session, but not because he is still feeling the effects of the illness that sidelined him for the Spain friendly. A U.S. spokesman said Donovan always trains lightly two days after a game. Donovan joked at first, "I got benched," but then confirmed, "Generally two days after a game I don't do a whole lot. My body doesn't respond well to doing a lot two days after the game."
  • The Americans worked on finishing drills during the final phase of practice and Jermaine Jones struggled so much that all he could do was laugh after each miss. He missed a couple wide and then smacked two off the crossbar from close range. Jones then playfully celebrated when he got one passed Marcus Hahnemann and into the back of the net.
  • Former USF and current FC Tampa Bay goalkeeper Jeff Attinella trained with the U.S. team. Attinella, who was drafted by Real Salt Lake in this year's MLS Supplemental Draft but later released, made a pair of fine saves during finishing drills.
  • Ticket sales for Saturday's Canada-Guadeloupe and USA-Panama doubleheader is approaching 20,000. A big walk-up is expected based on Tampa's history with sporting events, a CONCACAF spokesman said.
  • The U.S. team is currently injury free, and all 22 players in camp are available for selection for Saturday's 18-man gameday roster.


What do you think of the looming Panama match? Expecting the Americans to start the match off by imposing their will? Who do you hope starts?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Mexico’s result vs Salvador WILL NOT BE AFFECTED beacause the tests were done outside of competition!

  2. Sorry didn’t see those above posts. Mexico must’ve wanted to bring in some better players. They administered the tests themselves and are going to submit replacements to CONCACAF.


  3. “Apparently all five tested positive for ‘Clembuterol’ – a drug used in asthma inhalers to ease breathing”

    —Seems like they may have done this to enhance their breathing on the pitch? Any medical folk on here who can confimr this?

  4. In other news, 6 Mexican players have been suspended from the Gold Cup for doping…via SBI twitter. (See upper left of page.)

  5. I believe that this is the drug that Tour de France winner Contador tested positive for. His claim was that it came from spanish beef.

  6. If this is condescending sorry I don’t mean it that way. But maybe some folks who are criticizing Jermaine Jones don’t really understand his role.

    Jones did an excellent job connecting the defense to the midfield, he did an excellent job shutting down the other teams offense either through tackles, pushing the attackers out towards other defenders or well timed fouls. Jones had three deliberate fouls (not yellow cards which is something people complain he gets alot of….which if he is doing his job he has to get some!) that broke up potential Canadian breaks. I thought he was outstanding.

    His job was not the more glamourous job of pushing forward and attacking which was Bradley’s role. Bradley was free to do that because of Jones’ excellent work behind him.

  7. They say there is a beef contamination alert in Mexico for Clembuterol. If they ingested it accidentally thats one thing, if not it’s from no suspension at all to two years. In all honesty this is not good for anybody. I wanted a to beat a full strength (no pun intended) Mexico squad in the final, no ifs ands or buts!

  8. If those 5 are suspended (plus Osorio who left camp for some reason) then Mexico won’t have enough players for a full bench

  9. Word. Jones was great. He switched it up real well and had some great cross field lobs to the guys on the wings. He did a lot of the simple things. Chested down balls, distributed well, simple, smart passes.

  10. Mediotiempo’s Twitter account is reporting that 5 players from the Mexican national team have failed a drug test for performance enhancing drugs.

  11. might want to watch that game again buddy.

    I thought jones was the best player on the field against canada. his distribution from the back is top notch, using multiple switches and dropping cross field balls over the top of canada’s 3 man front they were trying to use to pressure the american defenders was exquisite.

    not too mention he was so solid that MB could run around and burn off some of that pent up aggression he has from sitting all year. it allowed MB to play a great game as well. best midfield pair i have seen in a long time.

  12. And, jimg’s last paragraph gives him away as an Edu fan, “coming off of a great season with Ranger.” While I don’t know first-hand, all I’ve read said he wasn’t as good this year as he has been in the past (he still could have had a good year based on that…though).

  13. Yeah. I don’t see how anyone can see how Edu played better than Jones simply based on time on the pitch alone. Edu didn’t do terrible, but looked shaky in some aspects, imo.

  14. Fair enough. All I’m saying is the Galaxy and USMNT are so reliant on this guy and the quote above reminded me that Donovan isn’t quite so young anymore. Just makes me wonder how he will hold up. I think we will have huge holes once he and Dempsey retire, similar to the one left by Brian McBride, but worse.

    Perhaps though I should have said “after the next few years”.

  15. I would have agreed with you BEFORE the Canada match, but he changed my mind with his relentless tracking, solid tackling and safe passing.

  16. I generally dont respond well to going to work two days after I’ve worked. Yep, that’ll work well with my boss.

  17. +1

    The execution and vision of Jones helped us switch the attack several times vs Canada. That is something you wont see from Edu. Jones also gives you a bit more when it comes to reactions and acceleration. I was worried with him the first 5 mins but I believe he was nervous and after about 10 minutes he was superb the rest of the game.

  18. Yeah? Why? Donovan is an asthmatic, he has to take medicine sometimes to keep his airways open, thta can also affect how your body0pmind responds to a maximal 90 minute game ffort. He is also one of the most important players we have had in the last decade. Everybody has different bio-rhythms, different energy curves, and recovers a little differently after giving a big effort – the US training staf knows how to prepare the team, and to address individual needs in cycling through injuries, post match fatigue, ramping up to a big game, etc.

    No worries on my part – this team is starting to find it’s rhythm and it’s collective persona. Good things are coming, good things.

  19. High of 90 for Saturday. Should be in upper 70s for game time. 30% chance of rain..afternoon/evening thundershower type stuff.

  20. “Generally two days after a game I don’t do a whole lot. My body doesn’t respond well to doing a lot two days after the game.”
    Doesn’t make me feel all that good about the next few years as a USMNT and Galaxy fan.

  21. I beg to differ with you. I saw it completely different. Jones did have a shaky first 5 minutes however, he recovered well and made simple and effective plays. His ball distribution was superb and closed down well. Was he the best midfielder? No, however, he did what was asked of him and he did it well.

    I’m a big fan of EDU however, he compromised possession 2-3 times in his own half in a crucial time in the match. He did have some simple passes however, Sharp Edu was not.

  22. I’m on the fence between Jones and Edu, but I lean ever-so-slightly to Jones bc he seems like an enforcer “de jong” type and is a good passer.

  23. I would give Marice Edu the start over Jermaine Jones. He didn’t look that sharp against Canada and Edu did.

    Also, Edu has more experience with his teammates and is coming off of a great season with Rangers.


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