Panama power to 3-0 win over Martinique

Despite taking the lead, the Americans still needed two more goals to avoid finishing second in the group, and they got a lifeline when Dom Dwyer was hauled down in the box by Marlon Lopez.

It didn't have to be this tough for the U.S., which wasted two penalty kick gifts.

Bedoya is a wonderful asset for Bruce Arena to have.

While the USMNT did not get the Gold Cup off to a great start against Panama on Saturday, it was going to be alright because the next two opponents were Martinique and Nicaragua, teams that the USA should score a ton of goals against and cruise past without much effort.

The increasing pressure in the second half also saw the U.S. MNT earn two penalty kicks. Joe Corona claimed the second PK but his weak attempt was never going to beat the keeper.

Four of the most experienced players in the current U.S. MNT player pool, Altidore, Bradley Dempsey and Howard each bring more than 100 caps worth of global seasoning to the U.S. squad for the Knockout Round. Having a couple of predetermined takers is usually the best. The second half was a much stronger performance, aside from the two missed penalties. Gonzalez's application to change affiliation from Mexico to the US was approved by Federation Internationale de Football Association last month, after the deadline for setting the 23-man roster for the group phase.

And now? Christian Pulisic was never great at penalties dating back to his youth level.

Bradley, Howard, Altidore and Dempsey all have more than 100 caps each. It's not an ideal situation. Nicaragua is 0-5-0 in its two tournament appearances. The Yanks made fewer bad mistakes than it had in the Panama or Martinique games and simple penalty conversion would have given the USA a result that more fairly reflected the talent gap between the teams.

Out of lineup for Game 2
Bumgarner missed the last three months with a left shoulder AC sprain sustained in a dirt bike accident on April 20. Doolittle, meanwhile, is due the rest of his $2.6 million salary in 2017 and another $4.35 million in 2018.

The U.S. again struggled to take control of the game early.

"But we wanted to give everyone an opportunity and that's the way we made a decision to do it and I think they came through with passing grades, all of them".

Ahead of the tournament Arena indicated he was looking for players who could force their way into the player pool, and he found at least one: Kelyn Rowe. It took a slight deflection and beat Lorente to the near corner for Rowe's first global goal.

Kelyn Rowe was in full force Saturday night.

His defense may need some work but the 25-year-old is clearly worth bringing into the fold with the regular first team players. He won't start every game and he won't always make big plays.

Club Tijuana midfielder and San Diego native Joe Corona opened the scoring for the Yanks against Nicaragua in the 37th minute. Luis Copete was shown a second yellow card for a foul outside the area, leading to a Zusi free kick. The New England Revolution playmaker was at the center of so much good in the final third for the US, displaying the inventiveness and technique that has made him a joy to watch for several seasons in MLS.

If there was any doubt that Arena was using the group stage as a warm-up for the knockout stage and an opportunity to survey his entire roster, it was erased upon seeing his lineup for this game. Joining them will be Jozy Altidore, Darlington Nagbe and Clint Dempsey.