Cristian Pulisic was introduced midway through the second half while Matt Miazga was able to make his case for a regular starting place as the United States made it three wins out of three in the group stage of the Gold Cup.
Having already beaten Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago in the nations’ tournament for sides from North America, Central America and the Caribbean, the US side knew they were already into the knockout stages prior to Wednesday’s match against Panama. That led to their coach, Greg Berhalter, making 11 changes to the side with Pulisic named among the subs.
However with 66 minutes of the game played, and no goals and few chances made, the player who will be part of the Chelsea squad next season was introduced but before he could make an impact, his side scored the only goal of the game. It came from an eye-catching overhead kick from former Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore who now plays his club football at Toronto.
Miazga, who had been on the bench in the previous two games, was steady in central defence as the clean sheet was preserved.
The victory means the United States will play Curacao on Sunday in the quarter-finals, therefore avoiding Jamaica who topped their group following a 1-1 draw against the USA’s next opponents. Michael Hector, who had been a starter in the first two group games for Jamaica, began this match among the subs but was introduced with 20 minutes left to play.
Jamaica now face Panama on Sunday. The other Gold Cup quarter-finalists are Haiti, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica. The tournament is being hosted jointly by the United States, Costa Rica and Jamaica but all the knockout-stage games are hosted in the States, with the US and Jamaican team games taking place in Philadelphia.