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Do the U.S. and Mexico care about the Gold Cup anymore?

Gold Cup
 By Jason Davis

Michael Bradley one of the few to impress as the U.S. downs Panama

After staking themselves to a 2-0 halftime lead through goals from Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, the United States reversed a recent negative trend and saw out a victory over Panama at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

A return to a more familiar formation, plus those old American tropes of set pieces and counterattacks, helped Jurgen Klinsmann's team get its first win of 2015.

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Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Nick Rimando, 5 - Not tested much in a half of play, though he was forced to make a save off his line on a difficult cross. As it was last week in Chile, Rimando's distribution was far from his usual standard.

DF DeAndre Yedlin, 4 - Came off limping after 70 fairly mediocre minutes. Mishit several crosses when he was able to get into the attack, sprayed several errant passes and was prone to mistakes position-wise.

DF Jermaine Jones, 5 - Learning the position, which means cutting down on his penchant for pushing too high and getting out of position. Took risks with a few passes out of the back that put the Americans under pressure via turnovers.

DF Matt Besler, 6 - Aside from a slip on a difficult pass from Rimando that led to a wasted chance by Blas Perez, Besler put in steady performance. Looked much more comfortable playing with a center back partner from the outset.

DF Brek Shea, 4 - Played out of position, and it showed in his lack of defensive acumen. Like Yedlin on the other side, more often than not he failed to take advantage of space created on overlapping runs. Hit one quality cross in the second half that Wondolowski missed.

MF Michael Bradley, 8.5 - The best player on the field. Bradley's goal got the U.S. going, but it was his influence in the midfield that drove the Americans to the win.

MF Mix Diskerud, 5 - Anonymous at times, though he was overshadowed by the fantastic performance of Bradley. Possessed the ball well and made his presence felt in the attack on a few occasions.

MF Miguel Ibarra, 6 - Showed good instincts on the wing. The fastest player on the field, which helped him track back effectively. Missed a few chances to hit accurate crosses but delivered exactly what you want from a wide player in this system.

MF Clint Dempsey, 6 - Scored, which outweighs the large stretches of the game where he went missing. Lucky to be on the field after shoving a Panamanian player to the ground in the first half.

MF Gyasi Zardes, 7.5 - Something of a breakout game for the Galaxy striker, who was playing out of position but made the most of his start. Made Dempsey's goal with effort and a smart run through the middle.

FW Jozy Altidore, 7 - Held up the ball well and showed a strong commitment to tracking back through 45 minutes. Not involved directly in either first-half goal (beyond blocking off defenders on Bradley's corner), but showed the energy and strength that makes the USMNT attack most effective.

Michael Bradley and Brek Shea celebrate after the Toronto FC man put the U.S. 1-0 up vs. Panama.


FW Chris Wondolowski, 3 - Whiffed on a great ball from Shea and seemed more intent on barking at Panamanian defenders than finding the back of the net.

GK Sean Johnson, 5 - Had almost nothing to do in the second half.

DF Matt Hedges, NR -- Made his national team debut in a late sub appearance. One to watch for the future.

MF Perry Kitchen, NR -- Left to replace DeAndre Yedlin at right-back, Kitchen's appearance doesn't say much about Klinsmann's view of the midfielder.

MF Lee Nguyen, NR -- Twelve minutes wasn't enough to let the creative Nguyen show what he can do.

MF Luis Gil, NR -- Had little chance to make an impact after being subbed on with nine minutes to spare.

Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.


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