By Steve Megargee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Dom Dwyer scored for the second straight game but Miguel Camargo’s goal gave Panama a 1-1 tie Saturday against the United States, the first time the Americans failed to win their opener in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
After scoring in his U.S. debut last weekend against Ghana, the England-born Dwyer put the Americans ahead in the 50th minute with a left-footed shot from 9 yards that went in off the far post. Dwyer, the husband of U.S. women’s team forward Sydney Leroux, ran onto a cross from Kelyn Rowe following a throw-in by Jorge Villafana.
Panama put on immediate pressure, and Camargo sent a rebound past the outstretched right hand of Brad Guzan in the 60th minute after the goalkeeper saved an initial shot by Gabriel Torres that followed Edgar Barcenas’ cross.
The U.S. had won its previous 13 Gold Cup openers and dropped to 30-1-4 in Gold Cup group-stage play, with the lone defeat against Los Canaleros in 2011. The last four matches between the nations have ended in 1-1 ties.
“We didn’t play well on the day,” U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. “We didn’t deal well with their pressure, especially in the midfield.”
Next up for the U.S. is a Wednesday match against Martinique in Tampa, Florida. The Americans finish group play next Saturday against Nicaragua in Cleveland.
Like most nations, the U.S. is not using most of its top players in the 12-team tournament, preferring to test its junior varsity before World Cup qualifying resumes in September. Just six players started from the among the 22 who opened the March qualifier between the teams in Panama City, including American center back Omar Gonzalez and Villafana.
On an afternoon with temperatures in the high 80s, there was a hydration break in the first half and action slowed in the latter stages. The crowd of 47,622 was the largest for a soccer match in Tennessee.
Dwyer joined teammate Paul Arriola in scoring goals in his first two international matches, a feat accomplished by nine U.S. players since 1916.
Panama nearly tied the game five minutes later. Torres’ header was saved by Guzan with his last hand, and Ismael Diaz’s effort off the rebound sailed high.
Camargo’s goal was his second for the national team. He also scored against Chile last year in the Copa America at Philadelphia.
The U.S. is winless on three Gold Cup matches, its longest skid. The U.S. lost to Jamaica in the 2015 semifinals and dropped the third-place game to Panama in penalty kicks.
Alejandro Bedoya and Gonzalez started in place of Arriola and Matt Hedges. Midfielder Dax McCarty made his first competitive appearance after playing in nine exhibition games since 2009.
Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber was on hand. Nashville is among the cities hoping to get an MLS expansion team.
© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.