Stu Holden and the rest of the United States Men's National Team have been a busy group of boys this summer. The biennial Gold Cup Tournament has seen the Yanks play six games in the space of 19 days with Bolton Wanderers' great midfield hope playing in five of those matches and starting three of them. The Yanks were riding a ten game win streak and had earned a spot in their fifth-straight Gold Cup final.
Jurgen Klinsmann, who was ejected at the end of the Honduras semi-final match, would miss the Americans' first chance to lift a trophy in his tenure but before heading to the stands, the boss would name arguably his strongest possible lineup for the crucial clash. Nick Rimando started in goal with Michael Parkhurst, Clarence Goodson, Matt Besler, and DeMarcus Beasley ahead of him in defense. The midfield looked to provide enough attacking flair to equal the defensive bite and saw Stu Holden and Kyle Beckerman in the center with Alejandro Bedoya and Joe Corona flanking them. Eddie Johnson was the lone front man, having scored twice in his last two games, with Landon Donovan in behind him.
Stu Holden would last just 18 minutes for the Americans, going down following a knock of knees with Alberto Quintero. Holden hit his left knee on Quintero's, going in for a standing tackle on the flank, but held his right on the ground. It bears reminding that the left knee is the one that Stu Holden injured in the Jonny Evans tackle and that it was the right one hurt against Panama. Stu would receive treatment and ligament tests on the field before walking off on his own power. He was eventually relocated to the locker room, again walking on his own power.
The Americans had the vast majority of possession in this one, pushing their opponents the whole way but for most of the match, it was tough for the Yanks to break through. The golden chance for the Americans just 42 seconds after Jurgen Klinsmann brought Brek Shea into the match. A cross from the right flank was meant for Landon Donovan, who mishit the chance, scuffing it right into Shea's path. The ball looked like it would roll into the back of the net but the Stoke City winger did not want to leave it to chance and scored the game's lone goal.
The match would end 1-0 after a bit of a tense fightback from Panama. Stu Holden would celebrate with the rest of his team, walking back onto the pitch with his right knee wrapped up. The Americans have won their first Gold Cup since 2007 and celebrated accordingly. Stu Holden was given a piggyback ride by Omar Gonzalez, smiling and laughing.
STU IS RIDING OMAR pic.twitter.com/ClvhzaUMoQ— Stars and Stripes FC (@StarsStripesFC) July 28, 2013