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U.S. Men's Soccer Wins First Match Under New Head Coach Gregg Berhalter

By Karen Price | Jan. 27, 2019, 11:07 p.m. (ET)

(L) Christian Ramirez celebrates after scoring a goal in Team USA's friendly against Panama on Jan. 27, 2018 in Glendale, Ariz.


A new era for the U.S. men’s soccer team began on Sunday when they played their first match—and got their first win—under new head coach Gregg Berhalter. 

After being in camp the past three weeks, the friendly against Panama at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona,  was Berhalter’s first chance to see his team in action, and they delivered a 3-0 victory. 

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Five of the team's starters were also making their men’s national team debuts, and two of them teamed up to score the first goal. Djordje Mihailovic came down the middle and got himself open to convert a perfect centering pass from Corey Baird in the 40th minute and the U.S. took a 1-0 lead into halftime. 

Walker Zimmerman made it 2-0 in the 80th minute and Christian Ramirez made it 3-0 nine minutes later. Ramirez, who plays for Minnesota United of Major League Soccer, was one of the Americans to make his international debut Sunday. He scored in the 89th minute, just five minutes after entering the match for the first time.

In addition to Mihailovic and Baird, defenders Nick Lima and Daniel Lovitz and midfielder Jeremy Ebobisse also started and made their national team debuts. 

Berhalter joins Team USA after his most recent stint as the head coach of the Columbus Crew of the MLS. The U.S. is back in action on Feb. 2 against Costa Rica in San Jose, California.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.