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Guzan leads USMNT to hard-earned point in opening match of 2017 Gold Cup

Led by Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan, the U.S. Men’s National Team earned a point against a resilient Panama side in a tough opening match at the 2017 Gold Cup Saturday in Nashville.

The 32-year-old earned the starting nod once again from head coach Bruce Arena after captaining the side to a 2-1 win against Ghana in an international friendly last weekend. Saturday’s appearance in Nashville marked Guzan’s 56th cap for the U.S. and his seventh-consecutive Gold Cup appearance (Golden Glove Winner in the 2015 tournament).

The first half at Nissan Stadium proved uneventful with both the U.S. and Panama only producing a few half chances each. Guzan saw some action but faced nothing truly threatening until the 27th minute when Panama’s Miguel Camargo cut inside at the corner of the 18-yard-box and fired a low curling effort to the far post. Quick to react and at full stretch, the veteran goalkeeper was able to deflect it off target and retain the clean sheet for the Yanks in the first 45 minutes.

The teams headed into halftime with a 0-0 score line, but it only took five minutes for the U.S. to find the breakthrough. After some nifty footwork from Kelyn Rowe, the winger played a beautiful cutback ball to the feet of Dom Dwyer who met the cross with a first-time shot on his left foot and found the far post side netting. The Sporting KC forward is now two for two scoring in his U.S. appearances after making his debut just one week ago.

Guzan would be spurred into action minutes later as a Panamanian header from inside the six-yard-box forced another brilliant save from the American goalkeeper, showcasing his fast reaction time.

Panama continued to apply the pressure and in the 60th minute they tested Guzan once again as Gabriel Torres struck a first time shot from close range. The U.S. GK was able to deny the first effort, but Camargo pounced on the rebound and his powerful follow-up was enough to bypass the fingertips of Guzan and equalize for Panama.

Neither side could find a winner in the final half hour and the match ended in a 1-1 deadlock. Guzan finished the match with seven saves on the evening and a performance he can be proud of. Following the draw, the U.S. will continue their Gold Cup journey as they take on Martinique on July 12th in Tampa Bay, FL before traveling to Cleveland, OH and facing Nicaragua on July 15th to wrap up group play.

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