|Donovan was less than happy with a 'lackadaisical' performance against Panama [GALLO/GETTY]
United States midfielder Landon Donovan said his team were punished for being complacent in their shock 2-1 defeat to Panama in the Gold Cup.
The U.S. were hit with two goals inside the opening 36 minutes in Tampa, Florida on Saturday and were unable to avoid their first ever defeat to Panama despite a battling second half.
"You can't start that way – for some reason we were a little lackadaisical, a little complacent early," Donovan, who missed a late chance to level, said.
"We can't start that way, that's the overwhelming, obvious point.
"They started well, took the initiative, made some plays well early on, it took as a while to get into the game and the second half was very good but when you dig yourself a hole that big sometimes you can't get out of it.
"Sometimes you just come out flat for whatever reason – at this level and against a good team you can't do that.
"Some nights you come out flat and don't get punished but other times you do – we learned a valuable lesson tonight."
The embarrassing result is a blow to the self-esteem of the four-times Gold Cup-winning U.S. team who this time two years ago had enjoyed a successful run in the Confederations Cup defeating current world champions Spain.
The U.S. had never lost at the group stage in the 12-team tournament for North and Central America and the Caribbean which is usually a routine process of elimination for the minnows.
"It's bound to happen at some point," said Donovan of the broken record.
"CONCACAF teams are getting better and better, that's a pretty good team we played against."
It would require an even bigger upset for the U.S. not to progress to the last eight, however. They need to beat Guadeloupe, who have lost both their games, on Tuesday in Kansas City.
"We have to turn around and make sure we are ready to play," said Donovan.
"We are still fine, we just have to make sure we learned some lessons today."