Unbeaten teams USA and Panama clash in Gold Cup
Group C leaders United States and Panama face off in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Sunday morning at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The Americans kicked off their campaign with a 2-0 victory over North American neighbor Canada. Jozy Altidore opened the scoring in the 15th minute while Clint Dempsey added another goal in the 62nd minute.
American players expect a thrilling match against Panama.
"I expect a team of good soccer players who will combine well, especially in the heat of Tampa Bay," defender Steve Cherundolo told ESPN.
"They're very talented on the ball and creative going forward."
USA team captain Carlos Bocanegra, for his part, said they need to improve their weak points.
"We need to be a little bit better in possession going forward, not lose the ball cheaply so we get countered," he said.
"We've got to go out with the same energy as we did against Canada, put them on their heels. We have to attack these guys the same way."
Panama, meanwhile, survived a late surge from Guadeloupe to hack out a 3-2 victory in its opening match.
Blas Perez, Luis Tejada and Gabriel Gomez gave the Central Americans a 3-0 cushion before the hour mark. But Guadeloupe threatened when Brice Jovial scored back-to-back goals in the 65th and 78th minutes. Luckily, Panama was able to hold on to its lead to seal the full three points.
Despite being the underdogs against the Americans, the Panamanians are confident of pulling off a win.
"That they're favorites doesn't interest us," Tejada told mlssoccer.com.
"It's 11-vs.-11 and they are men just like us. They're not invincible, but we know that if we play well and we're positioned well on the field, we can beat them."
Central defender Román Torres shared Tejada's sentiments.
"We have the tools to beat them," he said.
"We have to keep doing what we've been doing - running, tackling, staying concentrated and staying organized — and we can beat the United States."
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