Avoid the refs, Jones! The goal, find the goal!
The United States managed to get out of the group stage despite one of the more saddening group stage performances we've ever seen out of the Yanks. An uninspiring 2-0 win over Canada and an even less inspired 1-0 win over Guadeloupe sandwiched the first ever group stage loss that the States had ever endured, a 2-1 loss to Panama. Now, after a 2-0 win over Jamaica - which was at least decent to watch considering Landon Donovan spent a while on the bench and Jamaica had 10 men for a while - in the first round, it's time for a revenge and a rematch.
Panama managed to win their match against El Salvador after a long bout of penalty kicks with them, so it's the United States' time to figure out Panama and make it to the finals where they can face Honduras or - more likely - fierce rivals Mexico.
One player to keep an eye on will be former German international turned Yank Jermaine Jones. He was easily the man of the match against Jamaica, scoring the only goal for the US and taking a bit of a dive to force the red card on Jamaica that gave the States the easy track to the win in the last couple of minutes of the game. He left the game early with a groin injury so we'll have to hope that he's back at 100% or close. Juan Agudelo is likely to start up top if Bob Bradley keeps his 4-2-3-1 formation from last match with Jozy Altidore being injured against Jamaica.
Oh yeah, and Landon Donovan will probably play the entire game this time after being benched for a half against the Reggae Boyz. He and Clint Dempsey missed training time before that match at the weddings of their respective sisters.
Honestly I think the US will win this one. It's incredibly difficult to beat a team twice in such a short time, especially when both games are at the United States' home field as it were. The US has been in the last three finals and can be the first team to ever make four finals in a row with a win today. They beat Panama for the title in 2005.
The game will be on FOX Soccer and Univision at 5 PM, Mountain Time.