(Reuters) - The United States recovered from a poor first half and earned a 1-1 draw against Panama on Monday that kept the Central Americans from clinching an automatic spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-finals.
In a physical, testy, battle at Sporting Park in Kansas City, the Americans overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit when Michael Bradley slotted home from close range in the 54th minute.
The unbeaten Americans had already clinched their spot in the quarter-finals from Group A before the match.
Haiti, meanwhile, advanced to the knockout phase by beating Honduras 1-0 courtesy of a Duckens Nazon goal.
Panama, who drew all three of their games at the tournament to finish on three points, will now have to wait to see if they can qualify as one of the two best third-placed teams.
The Central Americans came out inspired on Monday, looking for their first win and Luis Tejada appeared to have given them the lead in the 10th minute only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
Panama did finally strike in the 34th minute when Blas Perez finished off a pass from Tejada.
The U.S. struck back early in the second half as Alejandro Bedoya played a great ball into the box to Bradley who finished.
The match had several testy moments with three Panamanians receiving yellow cards.
“It’s always tricky when you have one team who has advanced and another team playing for everything,” Bradley said.
“At the end of the day we’ll take our points and move on.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury