United States goalkeeper Brad Guzan claimed his team will not “kid themselves” as they target improvement ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-finals.
Panama dominated USA on Monday in both teams’ final group game of the Gold Cup, but Guzan’s side managed to hold on for a 1-1 draw just three days after they stole a 1-0 victory from CONCACAF minnows Haiti.
The result in Kansas City could easily have been different, with Panama finishing their match against USA with 11 shots to five, as Guzan made six saves.
The draw saw USA top Group A with seven points, with Haiti securing second position and a berth in the last-eight.
But while midfielder and stand-in captain Michael Bradley insisted “these games have never been easy”, Guzan was more critical of the defending champions after their second straight poor performance.
“Obviously, a positive is the fact that we fought back from 1-0 down to get something from the game,” Guzan said.
“But in saying that, we’re not going to kid ourselves. We need to try and put together a complete 90-minute performance.”
USA trailed by a goal at half-time on Monday, with Blas Perez having put Panama in front at Sporting Park, but Bradley’s strike nine minutes after the break secured a point for Jurgen Klinsmann’s Americans.
In a rematch of the 2013 Gold Cup final, Panama had to win to be certain of progressing and, having failed to achieve that, they now face an anxious wait to see if they finish as one of the top-two third-placed teams.
“I thought the first half we were, in basic ways, not sharp,” Bradley said.
“We didn’t find a way to lift the speed and the tempo of the game in any way, so we kind of just allowed them to dictate everything.”
The Toronto FC midfielder added: “We’re not naive. We understand that there will be the need to raise our game as the tournament goes on and the games become more important but we welcome that challenge.”
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