Thursday, April 25, 2019

United States 3 Panama 0: Berhalter enjoys winning debut

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Jan 2019

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The Gregg Berhalter era opened with a 3-0 victory over Panama thanks to United States debutant Djordje Mihailovic, Walker Zimmerman and Christian Ramirez.

Berhalter was appointed head coach in December, the former Columbus Crew boss replacing Dave Sarachan, who had temporarily filled the void left by Bruce Arena in October 2017.

And USA – in rebuild mode having failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 – got a glimpse into the future in Arizona, where a youthful team defeated regional foes Panama in a friendly on Sunday.

Chicago Fire’s Mihailovic opened the scoring in the 40th minute before defender Zimmerman and substitute Ramirez sealed the win during the final 10 minutes at State Farm Stadium.

The January camp, which fell amid club fixtures in Europe, meant there were no stars like Borussia Dortmund’s Chelsea-bound Christian Pulisic on show.

Berhalter’s first line-up included five debutants – Nick Lima, Daniel Lovitz, Corey Baird, Jeremy Ebobisse and Mihailovic, though experienced midfielder Michael Bradley was in the XI.

USA were comfortable throughout, Baird coming close to breaking the deadlock in the 25th minute after combining with Gyasi Zardes but his effort flashed agonisingly wide of the post.

The hosts were rewarded approaching half-time when Mihailovic capped his first international appearance with a goal.

Baird squared the ball back to 20-year-old team-mate Mihailovic, who finished first time from the top of the penalty area.

USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who will join Premier League champions Manchester City on a four-year deal in July, did not have much to do throughout the match.

But he was called into action for the first time after 56 minutes and produced a fine stop to thwart Panama’s Edson Samms.

Zimmerman added USA’s second goal with 10 minutes remaining, while Ramirez came off the bench to side-foot into an empty net in the 89th minute.

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