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Gold Cup semifinal: USMNT player ratings vs. Panama

It's over. The USMNT's Gold Cup, B.J. Callaghan's reign, Matt Turner's blessed existence in penalty shootouts... it's all over. The only constant that remains is Cristian Roldan's inability to put the ball in the back of the net.

Panama shocked the U.S. on Wednesday night in front of over 30,000 at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego by triumphing 5-4 in a shootout, this after 120 minutes produced a 1-1 stalemate.

2023 Gold Cup semifinal: USMNT player ratings vs Panama

2 stars of the game

#1. James Sands

When the U.S. was getting completely overwhelmed in the first half with Panama dominating possession, it was Sands working tirelessly to put out fires in the defensive half. 

Sands kept it up for 120 minutes and won the majority of duels he faced — he had a couple highlight reel crunchers in a very physically demanding game. All in all, Sands greatly raised his profile at this Gold Cup, although it's worrying that our best players at major tournaments are constantly our defensive midfielders. 

#2. Jesús Ferreira 

Ferreira had his opening penalty of the shootout saved, but he got the U.S. there with a memorable equalizer in the 105th-minute. He's almost certainly winning the Golden Boot with seven goals this tournament. 

It was another 120 minutes of Ferreira doing his best Antoine Griezmann impression with an effective combination of tireless running, tidy passing and playing multiple positions. 

I know he also curled one chance just wide of the post, and he'll probably get crucified for it by some sections of the internet, but on the whole, this was another match that made me appreciate the 22-year-old's game even more. 

If you disagree with the assessment, we can just say that Matt Turner gets to be the second star because he made some good saves. 

3 who failed to shine

#1. Brandon Vazquez

Vazquez and Cade Cowell both entered the starting XI and failed to impress. Vazquez was particularly quiet during his 74 minutes on the pitch and didn't look sharp with his hold-up play, getting muscled off the ball and misplacing a couple passes. In the crowded race for the USMNT's No. 9, Vazquez took a step back. 

#2. Matt Miazga 

Miazga made his penalty in the shootout but then got in Cecilio Waterman's face before he could take Panama's fifth.  

Miazga ended up looking like a prize-winning asshole because Waterman buried it, shushed the stadium and things only got worse from there for the U.S. 

#3. B.J. Callaghan and Cristian Roldan

The performances against Jamaica, Canada and Panama all say it: This wasn't the right squad. Callaghan assembled it, so the blame has to largely fall on him. Cristian Roldan is a pretty fitting example of how things went wrong as the 28-year-old predictably had his decisive penalty saved in the shootout. A third Gold Cup for the Seattle Sounders man was always a bit excessive. 

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