MLS-heavy United States capture 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup
It was a win for the United States national team, but also a win for Major League Soccer, as the United States captured their fifth CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 1-0 win against Panama at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who was suspended for the final match after being dismissed in the semifinal against Honduras, watched from a box above as his side won their fifth Gold Cup, their first since 2007.
It was very much a win for MLS and proof of how far the league has come since the last tournament in 2009, as the starting eleven for the match consisted of five MLS regulars: Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler, Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando, LA Galaxy midfield maestro Landon Donovan, San Jose Earthquakes defender Clarence Goodson and Seattle Sounders striker Eddie Johnson.
Despite a lack of action in the first half, the Red, White and Blue looked to finish the tournament undefeated, with the Americans winning five straight matches to start Gold Cup competition.
Finally, on 69 minutes, the lone, winning goal of the match came from Brek Shea, formerly of FC Dallas and now of Premier League side Stoke City, who was able to steer home the ball after Donovan failed to finish his chance seconds before.
Despite Panama mustering an attempt to net an equalizer, it was the home side who celebrated, with a jubilant Klinsmann joining his team on the pitch moments after the final whistle and celebrating with his ever-famous fist pump.
All MLS players will now rejoin their respective teams as they continue their 2013 regular season campaigns. With over half the season completed, they will be looking to carry the huge momentum gained with a Gold Cup win into the push for the postseason.
Darcy can be followed on Twitter: @darcy91