Orange Slices is our game day, catch-all post that we update during the day before the match. Don’t accept substitutes, imitators or copycats! Ask for fresh, wholesome Orange Slices by name.
Hello and welcome to game day!
The United States Men’s National finds itself one game away from a possible Gold Cup final showdown against Mexico.
Standing in their way? Group stage foil Panama, who adhered to a disciplined game plan in their 4-4-2 deployment last time and sent the United States to their first ever Gold Cup group stage loss.
What a difference a week makes. The US are coming off a strong showing against the Reggae Boyz of Jamaica while Panama needed penalty kicks to reach the sequel here today.
Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. CT.
Live Commentary: Right here at TSG!
• Unrelated: Simon Kuper looks at a statistical revolution underway in football. (TSG says it’s always in the numbers also.)
• Anthony Mannino of USA10Kit highlights the keys to the States five man midfield.
• John Levy, The Yanks Are Coming is thinks the Yanks will roll big in the rematch.
• Podcast: The Girls In The Cheap Seats, hailing from the Lone Star State, talk US Men’s National Team from a woman’s perspective as they follow around the team during Gold Cup 2011.
American Outlaws members gather here.
T-Storms bearing down on H-town. Alas, the US will be facing off with Panama in the Reliant Stadium….dome.
There’s no surfing in Houston….you bet there is!
In fact Galveston, Texas–and tanker surfing!–was profiled in probably the best surfing documentary of the 2000′s, Step Into Liquid. We couldn’t find a clip of that, but there is no shortage of southeast Texas–read: Galveston Bay–surfing on YouTube (below) and …. even directions on how you can surf one of those tankers.
When In Houston:
Shoutout to some Houston locals and TSG community members:
Kevin, Forever Orange: Kevin is youngster who’s been coming to TSG as well since we opened the doors–I believe one of his first comments was pleading for some face time for Bobby Boswell on the USMNT (Sorry Kev, not going to happen :>).
He’s always the first to nominate TSG for best US Soccer Blog at US Soccer. Thanks Kevin. And Kevin, I changed it from “Orange Wedges” to “Orange Slices” because the word “wedges” just annoys me for some reason.
Nachodelicious!: US forward extraordinaire Clint Dempsey hails from tiny Nacogdoches, TX, a mere two-and-a-half hours north from Houston. Dempsey is likely to have quite an entourage at Reliant tomorrow. Couldn’t find anything official on Clint and Nacogdoches, but I did find that the urban dictionary actually labels a “Clint Dempsey Day.”
Timmy Terrific: Tim Howard is moving up the goalkeeper record charts, and with 35 wins he is third all-time and two behind Tony Meola. With 23 shutouts he is in fourth place, one behind Brad Friedel.
Why Start Now?: The U.S. has never been eliminated at the semifinal stage of the Gold Cup by a CONCACAF opponent…
….However: The U.S. has made three appearances in Houston and has a 0-1-2 record, losing to Ecuador on June 10, 1988, in the first ever appearance there.
The two U.S. ties in Houston came against Mexico in friendly matches in 2003 (0-0 on May 8, 2003, and 2-2 on Feb. 6, 2008). Jozy Altidore and Oguchi Onyewu scored the goals in the 2008 appearance.
Blas Perez who?: Group stage terror and Panama striker Blas Perez is out this game after receiving a red card against El Salvador. However, his partner-in-crime-Luis Tejada’s three goals in the 2011 Gold Cup have made him Panama’s all-time leading scorer in the tournament with eight career goals. Perez is next with seven career Gold Cup goals, including one in the 2011 opener.
And this is of course….Panama!