2019 International Friendly, 2019 International Friendly
  • Djordje Mihailovic (40')
  • Walker Zimmerman (80')
  • Christian Ramirez (89')

U.S. beats Panama as Gregg Berhalter wins debut match as manager

The U.S. men's national team's Gregg Berhalter era began with a 3-0 defeat of Panama in a friendly on Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Berhalter, the former coach of Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew, was named to the U.S. position on Dec. 4. He replaced interim coach Dave Sarachan, who took over in November 2017 after Jurgen Klinsmann and Bruce Arena failed to qualify the U.S. for the 2018 World Cup.

Midfielder Djordje Mihailovic (40th minute) and forward Christian Ramirez (89th) became the 52nd and 53rd U.S. players to score in their debuts.

Also, defender Walker Zimmerman scored his second goal in five matches in the 80th minute, with a header from 8 yards off a cross by defender Nick Lima, another debutant.

Berhalter, a former U.S. defender, is tasked with revitalizing the program. Others to play their first U.S. matches were defender Daniel Lovitz and midfielders Corey Baird and Jeremy Ebobisse.

Before the breakthrough goal by Mihailovic, the Americans had a flurry of near-goals.

Gyasi Zardes, who had his career resurrected in Columbus last season by Berhalter, had layoffs that Corey Baird in the 25th minute and Lima in the 27th sent wide of the right post.

A minute later, Baird had a flick from Aaron Long, in his first match as captain, go over the goal.

Zardes was involved in the first goal, putting a pass to Baird on the right flank. Baird's service to Mihailovic was slotted from 15 yards.

Zack Steffen, the 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year for the Crew, made a left-handed stop of Edson Samms in the 56th minute.

Steffen made three saves before being relieved by Sean Johnson (one save) in the 74th minute.

The U.S. next plays Costa Rica on Saturday at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.