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U.S. men beat Panama 3-0 in Berhalter's coaching debut

United States forward Christian Ramirez (21) celebrates his

United States forward Christian Ramirez (21) celebrates his goal against Panama a during the second half of a men's international friendly soccer match Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in Phoenix. The United States defeated Panama 3-0. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Credit: AP/Ross D. Franklin

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Gregg Berhalter became only the third U.S. coach in the modern era to start with a win, Djordje Mihailovic and Christian Ramirez scored in their national team debuts and the Americans beat Panama 3-0 Sunday night in an exhibition between nations that started inexperienced lineups.

Walker Zimmerman also scored for the United States, which used a roster of players all from Major League Soccer and drew just 9,040, its smallest for a home game since October 2016.

Mihailovic was joined by fellow newcomers Corey Baird and Jeremy Ebobisse in the midfield, and outside backs Nick Lima and Daniel Lovitz also made debuts. Jonathan Lewis and Ramirez debuted in the second half. The only veterans were 31-year-old midfielder Michael Bradley and 27-year-old forward Gyasi Zardes.

Mihailovic put the U.S. ahead in the 40th minute from just inside the penalty area off a cross from Baird.

Zimmerman scored his second goal in five appearances in the 80th minute, knocking in a header from about 7 yards after Nick Lima intercepted a pass during a Panama counterattack.

Ramirez tapped in a cross from Lewis in the 89th.

Thirty American players have made debuts in 13 matches since the October 2017 loss at Trinidad and Tobago ended the Americans’ streak of seven straight World Cup appearances. The loss also led to Bruce Arena quitting as coach.

His top assistant, Dave Sarachan, held the position on an interim basis until Berhalter, a former American defender, was hired last month from MLS’s Columbus Crew. 
 

New York Sports