Friday, July 19, 2024

Panama score late to stun 10-man US


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Atlanta, June 28: Tim Weah threw an inexcusable punch, and the United States took a huge blow to its hopes of advancing at the Copa America.
José Fajardo beat backup goalkeeper Ethan Horvath in the 83rd minute to give Panama a 2-1 victory on Thursday night over the shorthanded Americans, putting the host country in danger of elimination if it doesn’t beat Uruguay in its first-round finale.
The US played most of the game a man down after Weah was sent off in the 18th minute.
“You never mean to get a red card. Under no type of circumstances,” teammate Tyler Adams said. “He apologized to the team.”
Weah issued a public apology on social media.
“I let my team and my country down,” he said. “A moment of frustration let to an irreversible consequence, and for that I am deeply sorry to my teammates, coaches, family and our fans.” Weah was sent off by Salvadoran referee Iván Barton with a straight red card for punching Roderick Miller in the back of the head.
“A silly, silly decision by Timmy that leaves us shorthanded,” coach Gregg Berhalter said.
Folarin Balogun put the US ahead in the 22nd minute but César Blackman tied the score in the 26th.
Horvath, who replaced injured Matt Turner at halftime, couldn’t prevent Fajardo’s close-range shot from going through his arms, and Panama beat the US for just the third time in 27 meetings.
The US, which opened with a 2-0 win against Bolivia, plays 15-time Copa champion Uruguay on Monday at Kansas City, Missouri.
For US to advance, it must either beat Uruguay and have a greater goal difference than Panama if Panama beats Bolivia; tie Uruguay while Panama and Bolivia also draw; or lose to Bolivia while finishing with a better goal difference than Panama and Bolivia. The US is plus-one, Panama minus-one and Bolivia plus-seven.
But failing to advance in the biggest test for the Americans ahead of the 2026 World Cup certainly would raise questions about whether Berhalter should remain in charge.
Weston McKennie appeared to put the US ahead in the fifth minute but the goal was disallowed for offside.
Panama also finished a man short after Adalberto Carrasquilla was given a red card in the 88th for chopping down Pulisic from behind. The US threw everyone forward in a desperate attempt to tie the game – including Horvath – but Panama held.
Panama lost to Uruguay 3-1 in its opener and closes group play in Orlando, Florida, against Bolivia, a team with 14 straight Copa America losses.
A pro-American crowd of 59,145 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium was irate after Weah’s ejection, especially after several other calls went against the home team, but there was little question that the US player deserved the red card. (AP)

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