NEW YORK: The United States and Panama played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to open Group B action in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Nashville, Tennessee.
English-born striker Dom Dwyer scored for the United States — his second goal in as many matches for his adopted country putting the US up 1-0 in the 50th minute.
But Bruce Arena’s men couldn’t make the lead stand up as Miguel Camargo answered for Panama to insure the two strongest teams in a group that also includes Martinique and Nicaragua shared the points.
Excellent work from Kelyn Rowe on the left side set up Sporting Kansas City forward Dwyer, who became a US citizen just three months ago.
Rowe easily got past Michael Murillo and moved deep down the left flank before sending a low cross into the penalty area where Dwyer turned and fired a left-footed shot into the right-hand corner of the net.
The US goal galvanized Panama, who saw Camargo’s blast from 20 yards out go over the bar two minutes later, then saw a brilliant chance go begging when Ismael Diaz somehow fired over the bar from a couple of yards out after a header by Gabriel Torres had been saved by a diving Brad Guzan.
Edgar Barcenas also narrowly missed before the determined Panamanians pulled level.
Barcenas’ cross set up Torres, who forced Guzan into another save, but New York City FC’s Camargo was there to bury the rebound.
Few quality chances followed, although the USA thought a penalty should have been awarded in the 82nd when captain Alejandro Bedoya came down after tangling with defender Luis Ovalle.
Both teams had opportunities in the scoreless first half.
The US threatened in the fifth minute, but Rowe’s shot was punched away by Panamanian keeper Jose Calderon.
The hosts’ best chance came in the 26th as Kellyn Acosta put a ball through to Rowe — whose shot went straight to Calderon.
Camargo then tested Guzan with a curling shot from the edge of the area.
Both teams came close in first-half stoppage time, with Acosta firing just wide of the near post and Ismael Diaz’s effort curling wide at the other end.