Berhalter era off to winning start as USMNT stymies Panama
Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Los Angeles - Djordje Mihailovic scored his first goal in his debut for the US national team as the Gregg Berhalter era got off to a winning start Sunday with a convincing 3-0 win over Panama in an international football friendly.

The 20-year Mihailovic scored in the first half and Christian Ramirez and Walker Zimmerman added second half strikes as the US gave their new manager a victory in his first match in charge.

"It is a proud moment personally," said Berhalter, who had 11 players on his roster who were uncapped. "To be able to go out there and execute as a team is gratifying.

"We have enough to now work with. When I see some of the ideas and concepts that we are executing, it is going to give us the platform to continue to grow."

Midfielder Mihailovic one-timed a pass from Corey Baird to open the scoring for the USA in the 40th minute. Defender Nick Lima figured in the play by moving the ball neatly out of the Americans' zone.

Lima was also instrumental in the Americans' second goal in the 80th minute. He started the play with a sliding steal off a Panama rush then fired a perfect long cross to Zimmerman who headed it into the net.

Ramirez came on late to cap the scoring in the 89th minute at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Ramirez was also making his international debut.

Panama's best chance came 56th minute when Edson Samms got in close but USA goaltender Zack Steffen used his left arm to deflect the shot out of harm's way. The loss extended Panama's winless streak to 11 games.

Berhalter, a former defender with the national squad, was especially pleased with Mihailovic's poise and determination. "I am so proud of Djordje and the way he performed at a young age."

The 45-year-old Berhalter took over the team last month after Dave Sarachan spent more than a year in an interim role following the US failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

The Americans fired Jurgen Klinsmann after an 0-2 qualifying start, failed to get across the line under replacement Bruce Arena and now begin rebuilding in quest of a berth in Qatar in 2022.

Before the game, the teams held a moment of silence for Sigi Schmid who died on Christmas Day in Los Angeles at age 65. Schmid was known for being the winningest coach in Major Soccer League history.

On Monday, the US squad travels to San Jose, California, for a Saturday matchup against Costa Rica.

Comments
Berhalter era off to winning start as USMNT stymies Panama
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox