CHESTER, Pa. — Asked what winning the third-place game at the CONCACAF Gold Cup would mean, U.S. captain Michael Bradley paused for a moment Friday, then said softly, “Not much.”

The midfielder quickly added that pride and competitiveness would keep the Americans playing hard against a short-handed Panama team, a promise repeated often by his teammates and Coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Once the U.S. was stunned by Jamaica in the semifinals, cutting short its bid to repeat as Gold Cup champion, Saturday’s third-place match was left to build momentum and try different lineups.

In many ways, those are always objectives for Klinsmann as he seeks to develop a team that can contend against the world’s best. For a coach in his position, the trick is to win enough in the short term to stick around to possibly see those long-term results.

“We want to continue the process toward 2018,” he said about the next World Cup. “This is Year 1 after the World Cup in Brazil, a year of rebuilding the pieces and bringing in young, new players, trying a lot of things out.”

Klinsmann defended two players, center backs John Brooks and Ventura Alvarado. The 22-year-olds have been shaky at times in the Gold Cup and were unable to stop Darren Mattocks of Jamaica from heading in the first goal of Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss on a throw-in.

“They have to go through these pains,” Klinsmann said, adding, “We’re going to do a step back here and there.”

He noted Brooks and Alvarado had made for a winning pairing in their brief tenure together before the semifinal defeat, including breakthrough victories in June exhibitions against world champion Germany and the Netherlands, another power.

“Enormous, enormous talent” is how he described the two.

“We’re going to keep on developing young players, keep looking into the future,” Klinsmann said. “Two, three years down the road – what does this team look like? … You have to keep developing a team that you have in mind toward 2018 that’s hopefully better than you did in Brazil.”

Panama, reeling from the chaotic finish to its semifinal loss to Mexico, will be without five players because of suspension or injury. On the verge of victory Wednesday, the Panamanians, playing with 10 men, were called for a disputed hand ball. Mexico tied the game on the penalty kick and went on to win 2-1 after another penalty in extra time.

Midfielders Valentin Pimentel and Gabriel Gomez, and forward Blas Perez are hurt, and forward Luis Tejada and goalkeeper Jaime Penedo were each suspended two games by CONCACAF. Penedo was disciplined for pushing the assistant referee after the match. Tejada received a red card, then was punished additionally for not leaving the field “in a timely manner.”

Klinsmann plans to shake up his lineup against Panama, but didn’t offer specifics other than to say DaMarcus Beasley would play in the second half. The 33-year-old defender retired from international soccer only to agree to be available for the Gold Cup. Klinsmann added him for the knockout rounds but Beasley strained a calf in practice and has yet to play.

Klinsmann spoke to the squad before Friday’s workout about Beasley’s contributions, and fellow players gave the defender a lengthy ovation.

The Americans can still qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup. As the 2013 Gold Cup champs, the U.S. will face the winner of Sunday’s title match between Mexico and Jamaica in a playoff Oct. 9 for CONCACAF’s spot in the most important warm-up for the next World Cup.