Dempsey, Guzan and Bedoya shine in the U.S.'s draw vs. Panama in Gold Cup
Once again, an ugly American performance in the first half gave way to a much improved final 45 minutes as the United States closed out the group stage of the Gold Cup with a 1-1 draw against Panama. With its place in the quarterfinal already secured and atop the group no matter the result, the U.S. began the game flat.
Needing energy and width after going down 1-0 in the first half, manager Jurgen Klinsmann turned to his bench, inserting DeAndre Yedlin and Clint Dempsey. Things changed almost immediately, with Bradley equalizing in the 55th minute. Although the U.S. did not find the winning goal, there is at least some momentum to carry with it to Baltimore on Saturday.
The quality of the American performances ranged widely with the standouts including Alejandro Bedoya, Brad Guzan and Dempsey.
Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Brad Guzan, 8 -- Strong when called into action, even if he was forced to make a double-save due to his own fumble in the 22nd minute. Made several other good saves.
DF Fabian Johnson, 6 -- Like the rest of the back line, Johnson improved in the second half. Still one of the most consistent players in the team every time he's on the field.
DF John Brooks, 6 -- A massive improvement after halftime for the Hertha Berlin man who lost his mark on Blas Perez to allow the Panama goal. Made a stunning last-ditch tackle on the same player in the second half that saved the game to go along with numerous strong interventions.
DF Ventura Alvarado, 4 -- Looked foolish against Luis Tejada on Panama's goal and picked up a needless yellow card. Did not stand out in the second half when the U.S. stepped up its collective game.
DF Timothy Chandler, 3.5 -- Another overall poor game for Chandler, who overcommitted defensively and turned the ball over on far too many occasions.
MF Alfredo Morales, 5 -- Morales covered plenty of ground, often moving inside to provide defense stability, but did little going forward. A passable, if forgettable, performance.
MF Kyle Beckerman, 6 -- Played his usual rhythmic game in the center of midfield, though it wasn't his strongest performance. As always, measuring the performance of the RSL midfielder is tough.
MF Michael Bradley, 6 -- Scored the U.S. goal, which improves his overall score. Lacked sharpness in the attacking end but worked harder than anyone, as is his modus operandi.
MF Alejandro Bedoya, 7.5 -- The best U.S. player over the course of the 70 minutes he was on the field. Crucial to Bradley's equalizer and a constant threat from wide positions on both sides of the field.
FW Gyasi Zardes, 6.5 -- Stepped up when Dempsey entered at half to help the Americans threaten Panama's goal. Put in the work defensively, though his real value was in the attacking end. Played a part in setting up Bradley's goal.
FW Chris Wondolowski, 5.5 -- Hard to blame Wondolowski for the Americans' first-half problems, with a midfield incapable of getting either striker the ball. The San Jose man acquitted himself well enough despite limited involvement.
MF DeAndre Yedlin, 6.5 -- Added energy and speed up the right side of the American formation after coming on for Morales at halftime. The guile is still lacking, but Yedlin covered tons of ground up the flank while providing desperately needed width.
FW Clint Dempsey, 7.5 -- Was a real game-changer once he came on after halftime. Dropped into midfield to play the creative role for a team that needed ideas. Hit the pass that sprung Bedoya to cross to Bradley for the goal.
FW Aron Johannsson, NR -- Dangerous upon entry, relentless with his effort. Held the ball up well when required and made smart passes to teammates in the attacking third.
Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.