GOLD CUP: Day 7 recap

Despite a second-half surge, the U.S. lost its first group-stage match in Gold Cup history when Panama beat the Americans 2-1 in Tampa, Fla. Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

A stunning result in Tampa left the U.S. uncertain of reaching the CONCACAF Gold Cup's knockout stage, although it would require an upset more shocking than Panama's 2-1 decision Saturday -- and that's just a start.

The Canaleros scored twice in the first half, the second on a penalty kick, then held on as the U.S. applied heavy pressure the final 45 minutes of the showdown for the Group C lead, halving the deficit through a Clarence Goodson header.

It was the first victory by Panama in nine meetings with the U.S., which had ended the Central Americans' runs in the previous three Gold Cups and had never lost during the group stage in the first 10 tournaments. The teams could meet again in the June 22 semifinals in Houston.

Panama clinched a quarterfinal berth with the victory, and the U.S. almost certainly will join them in the knockout rounds, but if four matches go the wrong way, the Yanks will be finished.

Three of those results -- El Salvador over Cuba in Group A, Guatemala over Grenada in Group B, and Canada tying or beating Panama -- are well within reason. The fourth: Winless Guadeloupe beating the U.S. in Tuesday's Group C finale in Kansas City.

Canada commands its Gold Cup destiny after a 1-0 decision over Guadeloupe on a Dwayne De Rosario penalty kick.

A quick look at the seventh day of group play in the region's nations championship:

YANKS FALL: Second-year pro Tim Ream, thought to be the future at center back for the U.S., endured a first-half nightmare that probably cost the Americans a shot at the Group C title.

Ream lost track of Luis Tejada, who finished Armando Cooper's header from a superb Gabriel Gomez cross to provide Panama a 19th-minute advantage, and brought down Blas Perez in the box to set up Gomez's 36th-minute penalty kick.

That's all the Canaleros needed; their defense held up under intense second-half pressure, conceding only on Goodson's leaping header from a Landon Donovan free kick that was headed on by Michael Bradley.

Panama will win the group unless they're beaten Tuesday by Canada, and maybe even then. Head-to-head results are the first tiebreaker, so if the U.S. and Canadians prevail, goal difference in games among the three sides would determine the order of finish. The U.S. would win the group with a victory and a 2-0 Canada triumph.

CANADA CLOSES IN: De Rosario buried a 51st-minute PK to lift the Canucks, who moved into position to reach the quarters. Ali Gerba, who nearly netted two first-half goals, created the spot kick, drawing a foul by Ronald Zubar with a run into Guadeloupe's box.

Canada was the more dangerous side and would have gone ahead in the 14th minute, but Gerba was a step offside when he when he finished emphatically. His header in the 32nd minute skipped wide of the right post, and Guadeloupe goalkeeper Franck Grandel leapt to turn away Simeon Jackson's blast to the upper V in the 65th.

Thery Racon nearly gave the Frenchmen the lead 20 seconds into the second half -- goalkeeper Milan Borjan dived to turn the shot away at the left post -- but Guadeloupe struggled to create further opportunity.

Canada is atop the table of third-place teams, and a draw in its group finale Tuesday in Kansas City against Honduras likely would be enough to get through.

DAY 8 HIGHLIGHT: Costa Rica's late comeback to tie El Salvador preserved this showdown, and the Ticos might have what's needed to slow down high-scoring but scandal-plagued Mexico in the Group A finale.



Group C (at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.)

Canada 1 (Guadeloupe pen. 51), Guadeloupe 0

United States 1 (Goodson 68), Panama 2 (Tejada 19, Gomez pen. 36)

Att.: 27,731


Group A (at Soldier Field, Chicago)

El Salvador vs. Cuba, 3 p.m. TV: Galavision

Mexico vs. Costa Rica, 5 p.m. TV: Galavision


Group B (at Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.)

Guatemala vs. Grenada, 4 p.m. TV: Galavision

Honduras vs. Jamaica, 6 p.m. TV: Galavision


Group C (at Livestrong Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan.)

Canada vs. Panama, 4 p.m. TV: Galavision

United States vs. Guadeloupe, 6 p.m. TV: Fox Soccer Channel and TeleFutura (KFTR/Channel 46)



x-Mexico 2-0-0 (10-0) 6

Costa Rica 1-0-1 (6-1) 4

El Salvador 0-1-1 (1-6) 1

Cuba 0-2-0 (0-10) 0


x-Jamaica 2-0-0 (6-0) 6

Honduras 1-0-1 (7-1) 4

Guatemala 0-1-1 (0-2) 1

Grenada 0-2-0 (1-11) 0


x-Panama 2-0-0 (5-3) 6

United States 1-1-0 (3-2) 3

Canada 1-1-0 (1-2) 3

Guadeloupe 0-2-0 (2-4) 0


Canada 1-1-0 (1-2) 3

Guatemala 0-1-1 (0-2) 1

El Salvador 0-1-1 (1-6) 1

x -- advances to quarterfinals

Two top third-place teams advance to quarterfinals

Key: W-L-T (Goals for-against) Points



June 18 at New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.: A2 vs. B2 and A1 vs. B3/C3, 2 and 5 p.m.

June 19 at RFK Stadium, Washington: B1 vs. C2, C1 vs. A3/B3, noon and 3 p.m.


June 22 at Reliant Stadium, Houston: East Rutherford winners and Washington winners, 4 and 7 p.m.


June 25 at Rose Bowl, Pasadena: Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.