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United States Man of the Match vs. Panama: Alejandro Bedoya

Jul 28, 2013, 6:30 PM EDT


Panama certainly proved worthy and stingy opposition for a United States side that had mowed  down the Gold Cup field prior to Sunday’s final in Chicago, if  only for the Central Americans’ ability to make a wet blanket out of this one. The match defined “stalemate” for more than 70 minutes.

So there wasn’t much to choose from in terms of U.S. Man of the Match.

Alejando Bedoya did as much as anyone in attempting to open up the congestion with a little dose of variety here and there. And it was Bedoya (pictured, on the left) who supplied the centering pass into such an inviting area than turned into Brek Shea’s piece-of-cake tap-in, the game-winner. (In fact, the ball was probably going in, ushered along by Landon Donovan’s accidental dummy; Shea probably would have been wiser to let that ball meander in on its own, subtracting any chance for an offside verdict.)

Bedoya was the best U.S. man in the first half. Not because he did anything extraordinary, but because he did something. Starting as the right-sided man in the U.S. 4-4-2, Bedoya found some space inside here and there, cutting toward the middle to create a shot (including one deflection that nearly sneaked in) or looking to combine with Eddie Johnson or Landon Donovan.

(MORE: Shea goal guides U.S. to fifth Gold Cup title, 1-0 win over Panama)

Again, there wasn’t much there as Panama frequently had all 11 players within 40-50 yards of its goal. Just ask Donovan, who was seeing precious little of the ball, or Johnson, who needed to drift well out wide to find any possession. Or ask Joe Corona, who played Bedoya’s left-sided opposite and found little joy at all. He gave way after about 70 minutes to Shea.

Late in the match, Bedoya wisely chose possession over something more chancy and adventurous as the United States embraced the stalemate, demonstrating some wile and looking to finish off the tournament.

  1. davidaztlan - Jul 28, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Dear Mr. Davis, At this point you may have realized that your unwarranted criticisms of Jurgen Klinsmann’s selection of Martin Vasquez as his coach while he was mandated to sit in the stands was unfair, unwarranted, and void of validity. Why you, Steve Davis would utilize quotes from Kyle Martino, whose thin and underachieving soccer resume is meager at best, is an embarrassment to the NBC sports legacy………………………………….I hope you were not hiding under Mr Martino”s skirt in order to take cheap pot shots at Jurgen Klinsmann as Mr Martino has been panned as an unqualified commentator/analyst and fired by the Fox soccer network due to his incompetence.
    Mr. Davis your criticism of Klinsmann is unwarranted………….Klinsmann now has achieved the longest winning streak in the history of the United States Soccer Federation……..
    What’s his biggest offense Mr Davis? He, Klinsmann, has opened wide the door to US Soccer pool to talented players who do not fit the previously held concept of soccer (East Coast centric biased status quo players) Martino’s claim to fame is a Gatorade award from a high school in a small exclusive Connecticut town, while at U of Virginia the team was mediocre at best (prior to his arrival they won a many National championships, and post his graduation they competed for a title). He played minimally with MLS, the National Team, a few looks and he failed to make the cut in Europe..
    So Mr. Davis….your source is wrong and thoroughly unqualified, hypocritically you criticize Klinsmann for puting his #2. man at the helm well you based your article utilizing your NO. 2 man(Martino)biased and unqualified statements.
    Utilizing anonymous and unqualified information is highly unprofessional. Due to Klinsmann’s demonstrated genius in discovering and developing American talent and his tactical savvy on the field we can applaud his selection of Martin Vasquez as his co-coach for todays Gold Cup Title.

    • rafibomb10 - Jul 29, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      Everyone else seems to like Steve Davis’ articles. No need to bash the guy. If you don’t like what he has to say, don’t read it.

    • supercoop8 - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      This tantrum is much easier to get through if you use a Bane voice every time you read “Mr.Davis.”

  2. Dan Haug - Jul 28, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Wow. I don’t normaly disagree with your analysis, but this seems crazy to me. I thought Bedoya was not good in this match. The very play that you’re giving him credit for (the deflected shot) was a horrible decision. He got the ball on the right side of the box with no one between him and the goal, and instead of driving to the end line, or taking a right footed shot (his strong foot), he put his head down and dribbled parallel to the end line into the heart of the Panama defense before releasing a low percentage strike with his off foot. The worst part of it is that if he chipped the ball far post instead of shooting he could have put Donovan in alone on the ‘keeper. This play typified the lack of creativity that our midfield showed in this match. He really only started looking dangerous when Donovan dropped into the midfield and started moving the ball around more quickly.

    I think Arguments can be made for Beckerman, Diskerud, Goodson, Shea, and maybe even Donovan or EJ (although EJ and Shea both made a lot of bad decisions on the ball as well) to be man of the match, but I thought Bedoya was exposed in this match as a guy without the mental acuity to bream down a bunkering defense.

  3. hildezero - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    I think the player of the match was Donovan, although Panama’s defense shut him down.

  4. rafibomb10 - Jul 29, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    I thought Bedoya was better than he normally plays, but man of the match? Nah not for me.

    Steve I normally agree with your selections for this, and you are right there was not much to choose from. I did think that Mix put in the best performance though. Looking at the possession numbers, 77-23% most of the game, you need to look at your CMs and pay them their due. Beckerman played well, but I thought Mix was impressive both on and off the ball. When Panama packed the box and threw everyone behind the ball, he stayed calm and distributed.

    And looking at the tape, his composure set up our only goal. The ball came out and instead of forcing it back into the box, he played the way he faced, playing Goodson, who got the ball wide and spread the defense. That was the determining factor in the game. Composure by Mix, so he gets the nod from me.

  5. Scott Hevel - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    I agree with a lot of things you post but this left me dumbfounded. Beasley and Donovan were on another plane of existence from the others on the roster in the GC final. After that, Diskerud and Romando and Johnson made some solid plays. That’s really about it.

    I’ll give you Bedoya made a really good pass on the goal. However, you’re leaving out the other 50 (Okay, I’m exaggerating) times he received the ball and proceeded to turn around and pass it backwards rather than do anything of value. He has no ability to create in space, is taken off the ball very easily, lacks the ability to draw/create a foul, and makes a lot of bad passes. There were at least 5 times he had the ball in space with the ability to quickly give the team a solid chance at scoring and he proceeded to blow it. About 10 minutes before the goal, I believe it was, Donovan made a great run, set Bedoya up on the pass, and put the team in great position to score. Bedoya basically tripped over himself and stood still for 10 seconds and then passed it back to the defense. That’s just not acceptable for anyone realistically in the discussion for man of the match.

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