U.S. coach Arena opts for experience for Gold Cup knockout phase

The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports

Martinique can still advance as the third-placed team in Group B if El Salvador lose to Jamaica by two goals or more and Mexico avoids defeat to Curacao by the same margin on Sunday.

Bruce Arena made a pair of changes, bringing on Paul Arriola and Jordan Morris for Rowe and Corona, but it was Nicaragua who had the next chance as Juan Barrera forced Bill Hamid to make a diving save.

Jordan Morris was about the only bright spot in the U.S. win on Wednesday night.

But Matt Miazga scored an 88th-minute header - his first global goal - to lift them into top spot after Luis Fernando Copete had been sent off for Nicaragua. Being able to take the top spot is an added bonus since it sets the team up for a third-place opponent in the quarterfinals.

The European-based players who usually play for the national team have been given time off from their national team duties until World Cup qualifying resumes September 1 against Costa Rica.

Panama advanced to the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals with a resounding 3-0 victory over Martinique on Saturday in Cleveland. Corona made a few defenders slip and fall and took a shot off his back foot, the shot skipped across the field, and skimmed past the goalie making the United States lead 1-0 in the 36th minute.

Joe Corona and Dom Dwyer each missed a penalty kick. It took a slight deflection and beat Lorente to the near corner for Rowe's first worldwide goal. Man of the match for his side.

The biggest difference? The U.S. easily won possession whenever Nicaragua was on the ball. "At the end of the day we still came out on top, and I'm pleased with that".

"It was kind of too good to be true", Miazga said. Arena got just what he wanted.

The chances continued to mount for the U.S. MNT and the third goal came in the 88th minute.

Bedoya's Baby: After taking the Budweiser Man of the Match award for his fantastic overall performance on Saturday, Bedoya said goodbye to his teammates and coaches.

Nicaragua has had a rough go of it so far at this Gold Cup and this year for that matter.

Michael Bradley and Tim Howard were spotted watching from the stands Saturday night-a clear indication that they will join the team when Arena makes his roster changes. Decisions must be made within 24 hours of a team's final group game.

USA coach Bruce Arena used a mostly junior varsity roster for the first round but plans to add reinforcements from the varsity for the knockout phase.

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