CHICAGO (AP) —
It took Brek Shea less than a minute to give the United States a goal. And the Gold Cup title.
Shea scored 42 seconds after coming into the game as a substitute, and his goal in the 69th minute gave the United States a 1-0 victory over Panama in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final. It is the fifth Gold Cup title for the U.S., but it's first since 2007. The victory also extended the Americans' winning run to a record 11 games, four more than their previous best.
When the final whistle sounded, the Americans on the bench raced onto the field to join their teammates. Several players jumped up and down, and hugs and high-fives were exchanged. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who watched the game from a luxury box after being suspended for his tirade over the officiating in the semifinals, quickly made his way down to the field, pumping his fists in the air as he walked.
The Panamians, meanwhile, could only watch in disappointment. They came into the game full of confidence after beating Mexico twice during the tournament, but never really threatened the United States.
The only downer on the day for the Americans was another injury to Stuart Holden's right knee. He collapsed to the ground after colliding with another player in the first half and grabbed at his right knee. He was able to walk off the field on his own, but U.S. Soccer later said he had sprained the knee and it would need further evaluation.
Holden missed almost 2 ½ years because of injuries to his right knee, only returning to the U.S. squad in late May.
The U.S. had been the class of the Gold Cup, outscoring opponents 20-4 in the tournament. Klinsmann used a mostly young team, and its confidence appeared to grow with every victory.