CHICAGO: Jurgen Klinsmann can win a top international prize as a coach in the Gold Cup but he will not be there on the bench.
The United States coach has been suspended from the final against Panama after having been sent to the stands in the 87th minute of the 3-1 win over Honduras in the semi-final.
Klinsmann lost his temper with Costa Rican referee Walter Quesada after captain DaMarcus Beasley was felled in front of the US bench. He slammed a ball to the ground and shouted at Quesada who stopped the match and sent him off.
Assistant and former ChivasUSA coach Martin Vasquez will manage the team in Klinsmann’s absence.
Klinsmann said: “It was a reaction out of frustration. The fouls had started adding up throughout the last half hour. I just kind of overboiled.
“Obviously you shouldn’t then kind of throw the ball on the ground. I apologize for that reaction. It wasn’t against the referee, against nobody. It was just frustration.”
Tomorrow’s final is a repeat of the 2005 showdown when the US needed a penalty shootout to edge to victory. Indeed, it is also the fifth consecutive Gold Cup in which the teams will meet in the knockout round. The US are unbeaten in all of them, including quarter-final victories in 2007 and 2009 and the 2011 semi-final.
Panama reached the championship final by defeating Olympic champions Mexico for the second time in the tournament, and by the same 2-1 scoreline. Five-goal Gabriel Torres is joint tournament top scorer with the hosts’ Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski.
The semi-final success extended theUS’ record winning run to 10 games, three more than the previous high of seven straight wins in 2007.
The US previously won the tournament in 1991, 2002, 2005 and 2007. With four runner-up finishes, they have reached the final in nine of the 12 editions of the Gold Cup and are preparing for their fifth successive final.
Donovan has contributed five goals and seven assists in the tournament and his 18 career goals are tops in CONCACAF, along with his appearance in a record six Gold Cups.
Along with the overall winning streak, the US will have a chance to tie a home record winning streak of 10, which was set from June 15, 2008, through July 11, 2009.