Giovanni Reyna Scores First International Goal as U.S. Beats Panama in Friendly Match

It’s a special first for Giovanni Reyna

The 18-year-old half-Argentine American soccer player scored his first international goal as the United States beat Panama 6-2 in a friendly on Monday in Wiener Neustadt, Austria.

Giovanni Reyna

But Reyna wasn’t the only player to do so…

20-year-old Chilean & Mexican American soccer player Sebastian Soto and Nicholas Gioacchini also scored their maiden international goals during the match.

 

The second-youngest U.S. team ever fielded — with an average age of 22 years, 154 days — started brightly but found itself trailing inside of 10 minutes when Jose Fajardo‘s glancing header from an Alejandro Yearwood cross beat Zack Steffen and gave Panama the early lead.

The Americans got back on level terms 10 minutes later, when Reyna scored from a free kick at the top of the penalty area after Yunus Musah was brought down following a nice run at the Panama defense.

The goal was the first in Reyna’s U.S. career, just days after his 18th birthday and a reported new deal with German club Borussia Dortmund.

Gioacchini then fired the U.S. in front with his first international goal, pouncing on a rebound from Ulysses Llanez‘s shot after some sloppy play out of the back from Panama.

Firmly on the front foot, the U.S. made it 3-1 in the 26th minute, with Gioacchini — who plays at Ligue 2 side Caen — netting his second with a close-range header following some neat buildup play in the penalty area.

Panama came out of halftime trailing by two goals and looked dangerous in the opening 15 minutes of the second period, but were unable to find another goal.

Gioacchini had a chance to make it a hat trick on the night, but he missed from the penalty spot after Panama’s Oscar Linton was whistled for hand ball in the area.

Panama clawed one back before the 80-minute mark in a bizarre sequence that saw Fajardo break free in the U.S. area with only Steffen to beat, and he sliced a left-footed volley into the net to make it 3-2.

Substitutes Soto and Richie Ledezma put the game away soon after the Panama goal, with the former meeting the latter’s cross in the box and heading home for his first tally in the U.S. senior side.

Sebastian Lletget made it 5-2 before full-time with a header of his own before Soto headed in his second from Ledezma to reach the final scoreline.

Guardado Leads Mexico to 3-1 Win Over Jamaica in CONCACAF Gold Cup Title Match

Andrés Guardado is returning south of the border as Mexico’s new soccer hero…

The 28-year-old Mexican futbol player, who plays for Dutch club PSV Eindhoven and the Mexico national team, scored his fourth goal of the knockout rounds to help propel Mexico to its seventh CONCACAF Gold Cup title Sunday with a 3-1 victory over upstart Jamaica.

Andrés Guardado

Jesus Corona and Oribe Peralta contributed goals as El Tri scored twice early in the second half to ensure this match wouldn’t come down to any calls in the final minutes.

It was a convincing performance for coach Miguel Herrera and his team after some rough play and contentious moments in the previous two games.

Jamaica had made a rousing run to the final, stunning the U.S. in the semis to become the first Caribbean nation to reach the Gold Cup’s championship match. And they looked as though they belonged in the opening minutes, keeping the pressure on Mexico with several promising scoring chances but never putting a shot on goal.

Jamaica hadn’t trailed since early in the second half of its Gold Cup opener before a yellow card helped lead to Mexico’s first goal.

Darren Mattocks scored in the 80th minute to pull the Reggae Boyz within 3-1.

El Tri will face the U.S., the 2013 Gold Cup champions, on October 9 for CONCACAF’S spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

The only way Mexico had been able to score in the knockout rounds before Sunday had been on penalty kicks, all three by Guardado. And two of those came on late, questionable calls.

Against Costa Rica in the quarterfinals, a scoreless game was moments from going to a shootout when Guardado converted his penalty in the final minute of extra time. Mexico had been the better team that day, but that wasn’t the case in the semifinals. Down to 10 men, Panama was on the verge of victory when a disputed hand ball set up a penalty for Guardado in second-half stoppage time, and he scored on another for the winner in extra time.

Mexico had gone 272 minutes since one of its players scored on anything other than a penalty when Guardado put El Tri ahead for good Sunday. Jonathan dos Santos found Paul Aguilar out wide on a free kick, and Aguilar crossed it to Guardado, whose left-footed volley made it 1-0 in the 31st minute. It was his sixth goal of the tournament, one behind Clint Dempsey of the U.S.

Guardado came off to a thunderous ovation from the pro-Mexico crowd of 68,930 at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL‘s Philadelphia Eagles.