CHICAGO: A second half goal from substitute Brek Shea earned a 1-0 win for the United States over Panama in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup at Soldier Field, Chicago.
The hard-fought victory in front of 57,920 fans marked the fifth victory for the US after previous success in 1991, 2002, 2005 and 2007. They also moved within one title of equalling Mexico’s record for most championships.
With the victory, the US earned a spot in the playoff that will be held between the champions of the 2013 and 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cups, with the winners earning a berth to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. If the US also win the 2015 Gold Cup, that will earn automatic direct entry to the tournament.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann watched from a stadium suite high above the action while serving his suspension following his sending off during the semifinal win over Honduras.
The US had the vast majority of possession throughout the match. The first half produced little in the way of scoring chances for either team but the winner came in the 69th minute from Shea after a cross from Alejandro Bedoya.
Landon Donovan took a swing at the ball and missed but Shea made sure by tapping it into the net from a foot away.
Shea had come into the game just 42 seconds earlier for Joe Corona, and the goal was the second of his career for the US. It was the third time in the tournament a US substitute had provided instant impact after Eddie Johnson’s goal 15 seconds after entering the game against El Salvador in the quarterfinal and Shea’s first-ever goal against Costa Rica in the group stage.