Panama 2-1 USA (Jun 27, 2024) Game Analysis

A first-half red card to Timothy Weah and an injury to goalkeeper Matt Turner proved too much for the United States to overcome in a 2-1 loss to Panama at the Copa América on Thursday in Atlanta.

José Fajardo scored the decisive goal in the 83rd minute for Panama after a wild scramble in front of the U.S. goal, and Adalberto Carrasquilla was also sent off for a reckless tackle on Christian Pulisic in a game that left both teams on three points after two games. 

A chaotic opening 20 minutes saw the U.S. seemingly take the lead through Weston McKennie, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside, before Weah was sent off with a straight red card for hitting Panama’s Roderick Miller in the head, a decision met by groans by the pro-American crowd of 59,145 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Despite losing a man, the U.S. took the lead shortly after Weah’s dismissal when Folarin Balogun scored with a sublime left-footed strike from distance.

Panama hit right back, though, as the ball fell kindly to César Blackman at the top of the area and his low shot took a slight deflection and beat Turner to make it 1-1.

Ethan Horvath came on for Turner at halftime, as the U.S. No. 1 could not continue after being on the receiving end of a hard foul in the first half. The Cardiff City keeper was immediately tested with a swerving knuckleball that he parried away to keep the score level.

The U.S. benefited from a VAR call midway through the second half after Cameron Carter-Vickers was whistled for a penalty in the area, but the call was overturned following a video review and the score stayed level.

In all, there were five yellow cards and two reds given over the course of the match.

The Americans’ chances to advance come down to their final game against Uruguay on Monday, where they will likely need a win to reach the quarterfinals. Panama plays Bolívia, a team with 13 straight Copa América losses, on the same day.

Weah was sent off by Salvadoran referee Iván Barton with a straight red for punching Miller in the back of the head after two other calls went against the host country.

This came after Chris Richards’ header from Pulisic’s corner kick was deflected off the crossbar by goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera, and a video review determined Tim Ream was offside when he poked to McKennie, who put the ball in from near the penalty spot.

Blackman did not receive a card when he collided in the 12th minute with a leaping Turner, who landed awkwardly on his right arm and was down for several minutes while being tended to by medical personnel.

Balogun scored after a sloppy clearance. Antonee Robinson dribbled into the penalty area and passed to the striker. Balogun exchanged taps with Robinson and curled a shot from the edge of the area off the inside of the far post and in for his fifth goal in 14 appearances.

Blackman tied the score in the 26th when he took a pass from Carrasquilla at the arc, dribbled around Robinson and shot through the legs of Richards and just past Turner’s outstretched arm.

Gregg Berhalter made three substitutions to start the second half, including the one for Turner that brought in Horvath for his first game for club or country since May 4.

Failure to advance from the biggest test for the Americans ahead of the 2026 World Cup will raise questions about whether coach Berhalter should remain in charge.