The United States’ 2015 Gold Cup has already been labeled a disappointment, but there’s still one more match to play.
After losing to Jamaica 2-1 in the semifinals, the USMNT will look to end the tournament on a high note with a win in the third place match against Panama.
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Luckily for the United States, their failure to defend the Gold Cup title has been overshadowed by some controversial officiating in other matches, which has become the talking point of the tournament.
Game 25: USA vs. Panama — FULL PREVIEW
When: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET
Where: PPL Park, Philadelphia
Live updates: NBCSports.com
For the USMNT, there has been plenty of chatter since their semifinal loss to Jamaica. What is going on in the defense? Should Klinsmann be fired? Have there been any improvements over the past four years? While a consolation match is relatively meaningless to fans, a second straight loss in CONCACAF play should be viewed as unacceptable. Playing in front of a home crowd in Philadelphia, the U.S. must play for pride and begin to look ahead to winning the Confederations Cup playoff in October.
[ VIDEO: Shocking scenes as Mexico fans riot, Panama players attack referee ]
Panama will feel slighted to be playing in the third place match, as their semifinal loss to Mexico was marred by controversial decisions from the referee and inappropriate actions from both players and fans. CONCACAF released a statement admitting that mistakes by the officials had an impact on the outcome of the game, but that will do little to subdue the anger of the players and the Panamanian federation. Goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and leading scorer Luis Tejada will both be suspended from this match due to their actions in the semifinals, as the rest of the side must overcome their emotions in Philadelphia today.