Jurgen Klinsmann
The U.S. team coach Jurgen Klinsmann looks on before the international friendly soccer match against Switzerland at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich March 31, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The third and final match of Group play in the 2015 Gold Cup gets underway for Group A on Monday. Haiti and Hondurs will slug it out for a chance at the second round in the afternoon, wheras the much anticipated encore in the evening between top seed the United States and second place, Panama, will have eyes glued to television sets across the country.

The U.S. won their first two matches and clinched the top seed in the group. However, Panama is considered a contender to win the entire tournament, and last squared off in the 2013 Gold Cup Final against America two years ago.

USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann has the luxury heading into the match to rest some of his stars, or go for the clean sweep of Group A, more than likely eliminating Panama from the tournament in the process, albeit risking the energy levels of his stars further on down the road.

Through the first two matches of the tournament against Honduras and Haiti, the United States did not look like the dominant force they were in the last edition of the Gold Cup. The reigning champions looked unprepared and unsettled in the opening minutes against Honduras, and if not for the heroics of Captain America himself, Clint Dempsey, might have lost that match.

Against Haiti, in a 1-0 narrow victory, the U.S. looked lethargic in the first half and had trouble moving the ball forward down the pitch. Goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, was the hero, making numbers saves throughout the game. Klinsmann opted for the speed and youth of Gyasi Zardes in the second half, telling the LA Galaxy forward to go deeper into Hait's zone and attack.

The move worked as Zardes set up Dempsey for the game's only goal. The Stars and Stripes could have, and should have won each of those games handedly, but yet they still won, and clinched the top seed in the group. Whether they win, lose, or draw against Panama, they know who they will face in the knockout round and that's all that's important.

Panama is in a much more dire situation however. The 2013 Gold Cup runner-ups need a win or draw to have a chance of advancing out of the first round. Thankfully, with Haiti and Honduras behind them in the standings with one point each, and playing each other, Panama will know what they must do to advance to the knockout rounds before taking the pitch.

Currently, they stand in second place in the group, but with only two points, after two draws in their first matches. The similarities in each of those two matches was Panama's inability to close out its opponent. In each of their first two matches, Panama allowed a game-tying goal in the final 10 minutes of regulation.

If Panama wants to advance and have any chance of making another Gold Cup final, they will need a result against the United States on Monday. Panama will be without its star defender Luis Henriquez who is suspended for the match. They will also hope that Klinsmann opts to rest stars Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, although, America has plenty of firepower off the bench as well.

At the end of the day, it all depends on the mental motivation level of the United States. Do they come in smelling blood? Do they have the killer instinct to finish off the team they faced two years ago in the final? Or will they treat this more of an exhibition game, with ticket and top spot already booked?

Prediction: 2-0 United States

Betting Favorite: United States -1
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals

The United States and Panama will kick off on Monday, July 13, 2015 at 9:30 PM EST from Sporting Park in Kansas City, Missouri. It will air live on Fox Sports 1 and in on UniMas in Spanish. It can be live streamed here. If you prefer to watch the game on your mobile device, please download the Fox Sports Go app from your app store.

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