"I'm Still Standing, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah"

I'm going to be generous and say that Roman Torres was going for the ball when he went all Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon on Kenny Cooper's solar plexus, although the main reason is that it's hard to imagine anyone being that stupid.

Having said that, I simply can't conceive what travesty of justice the Panamanians thought they had suffered when the referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot.

They seemed absolutely shocked, appalled and hard done by when, to any rational observer, this was possibly the easiest call of the night.

It was, however, that kind of an evening:

The Commandos of the Canal Zone play - to put it charitably - a somewhat aggressive brand of soccer. No one can question their commitment. At the same time, with all the bodies flying around last night it's a miracle nobody was killed.

And if Jimmy Conrad ever regains his memory of the evening I'm sure he'll agree.

Pretty soccer it wasn't, but gutsy soccer it sure as hell was and by the end the mostly youngish, MLS-based lineup - I'm not going to call them a B team - looked like they could have gone another couple of frames, while Panama started looking badly gassed well before the end of regulation.

In fact, the most energetic thing they did in OT, apart from doing Bruce Lee impressions, was get up in the referee's face.

Well, OK, in fairness, they also looked extremely energetic taking swings at the security guards:

As is my usual wont, I'm not going to do player ratings or a game breakdown or any of that. There's lots of guys out there much better at it than I am, and we'll let them play to their strong suit.

I'll just lazily kick in some comments, to wit:

After last game a couple guys castigated me for not mentioning Kyle Beckerman. Well, fine then. Beckerman was an absolute horse last night from whistle to whistle. Easily the MotM.

I'm falling in love with Stuart Holden. Houston fans better enjoy him while they can because this tournament is well timed for overseas talent watchers to give it their undivided attention, and he's been giving them an eyeful game after game.

UP: Jay Heaps. The Man Everyone Loves to Hate had an abysmal, crappy and entirely appalling game last time out but redeemed himself last night. He's still not going to SA but he won't be going home in shame, either.

DOWN: Robbie Rogers. Maybe Luis Moreno (soon to be coming to an MLS team near you, I'll wager) is secretly a world class defender that nobody has ever heard of, I don't know. What I do know is that Rogers needs to make an appointment to get that tattoo of the guy's name removed from his ass.

MEH: Logan Pause. Not much to add.

FSC: I'm not sure what game they were watching but their opinion that Panama owned the first half does not, shall we say, bear close examination.

BOB BRADLEY: On the other hand, the last-second goal going into the half could have been a badly deflating gut punch to the US. Instead, they came out of the locker room like their pants were on fire and tore into the Panamanians like Katrina tore into New Orleans.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ching, Marshall and, of course, Arnaud who, very, very quietly, has been the rock this team needed.

SPECIAL MENTION: Clarence Goodson, who did a solid job coming in for the bell-rung Conrad.

EXTRA SPECIAL MENTION: Philadelphia. Well done:

Just in passing, whatever happened to the Big Ass Flag? Or has it been around and I've just been missing it?

Now if you're looking for a team that got screwed with their pants on it would be Canada, who lost 0-1 to Honduras last night when referee Joel Aguilar gave Los Catrachos a spot kick based on - well, let's just say the evidence was inconclusive at best.

(I'd make some snarkyassed remark about them starting a Twitter campaign demanding that Chuck Blazer do something about the officiating, but they don't deserve that today so I'll take a raincheck)

On the plus side for our Pale Northern Brothers - and it's a big, big plus - they seem to have finally found the right guy for the head coaching job in Stephen Hart, who had his side running on all eight cylinders from the start of the tournament. Most observers favored them to move on to Thursday's semifinal, which would have been a big boost for a program that's been rudderless for way too long.

If there's one thing CONCACAF needs - and the US needs as well - besides someone honest running the thing, it's a strong, competitive Canadian National team. It's long overdue.

Still, if there's some way for the CSA to screw it up, I'm confident they'll find it.

However all that plays out, it'll be Honduras again on Thursday. The US wil be favored but without guys like Feilhaber and Davies - and you have to guess, Conrad - it could be a struggle.

But this US team has a toughness and some attitude and they're capable of some pretty decent soccer. A lot of credit to Bradley for that, with a solid assist from MLS, without which a lot of these guys wouldn't be out there.