The U.S. had just played in its first World Cup in 40 years, winning a berth made possible by Mexico's suspension after using an overage player in Olympic qualifying, and was three months into former Mexico boss Bora Milutinovic's U.S. reign.
After a tepid first half, Dwyer, who was born in England, put the United States in front as his left-footed strike found the net via the far post. When the U.S. roster was released, it was Dom Dwyer who grabbed all the headlines and it was Dom Dwyer who grabbed all of the headlines from the Ghana game with a goal in his first appearance for the United States (a rather splendid goal it should be said).
One of the biggest flaws of the Gold Cup is how easy it is to make it to the knock-out stages: if you win a game, you're all but in because two of the three teams that finish 3rd in the group stages move forward.
"I thought it was a good performance against a good team", Arena commented. Donovan appeared in six tournaments and scored in each of them, including a penalty in the 2007 final, which the US won 2-1. By giving the shoo-ins a rest and letting these marginal players get a long run in tournament play, he can identify which players can help the Americans at Russian Federation 2018 and which ones can't, while still competing for the title. That would be more than enough to get through to the next round.
"We didn't play well on the day", he said in the opening remarks of his post-game press conference.
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.
"I have been around the national team for a number of years now, so I have the experience to help out some of the younger players if they feel they need it". The crowd of 47,622 was the largest for a soccer match in Tennessee.
Victory was sealed in some style in the second half as Steeven Langil scored a superb individual goal only a minute after coming off the substitute bench.
He got his first cap in the USMNT's warmup friendly with Ghana last week, making him the 48th American to score in his senior level debut. Despite the fact that the Martinique team still does not have the right to participate in the World Cup, but participates in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The U.S. celebrates Dom Dwyer's goal vs. Panama. Bedoya replaces Paul Arriola at wide midfield and Gonzalez took over for Matt Hedges in central defense, paired with Matt Besler.