Game day for USMNT vs Panama

Oscar Cross
October 8, 2017

"That's so evident now, being in World Cup qualifying where we are right now".

Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Bedoya, Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, Cameron, Clint Dempsey and Yedlin all would be suspended for the Trinidad match if they get a yellow card against Panama. Thanks to the blowout win, the US turned the tables on Panama, which is now in fourth.

The two points ahead of Panama, which will host second-place Costa Rica in its final match. Then it would truly come down to the final day of qualifying matches, which are on October 10.

But minutes before the end of the first half, the USA put the game on ice thanks to a powerful, clinical move from Wood.

Arena, who returned as United States coach last November following the sacking of Jurgen Klinsmann after qualifying losses to Mexico and Costa Rica, said he expects Panama to take a cagey approach to Friday's game. T&T are rooted firmly at the bottom of the table. CONCACAF qualifying is a joke, but it's a joke that's provided the Yanks with a cushy safety net. Hundreds of nations all over the world compete for a place in the quadrennial competition, but only a select few advance through the long journey that is World Cup qualifying. In fact, the US have lost more matches at home during the Hex than away.

Big plays from veteran Sporting Kansas City player Benny Feilhaber has played many global games.

The US, in the form doldrums themselves for much of their campaign in the North and Central American confederation (CONCACAF), looked doomed to finish fourth and set up an inter-confederation play-off with either Australia or Syria.

Defensive stability has been the main issue for the Americans so far.

But it isn't just Friday night that showed how important Pulisic has become to this squad. While all have had their moments, all have had issues this cycle. "This time I hope that it's filled with all Americans".

Costa Rica is on the verge of clinching the second. He was then replaced by the ever-ageless DaMarcus Beasley for the Honduras match.

American Soccer Now's Brian Sciaretta argues that there's a generation gap for the USMNT.

Pulisic got the Americans off to an electric start with a tremendous individual effort en route to the opening goal in the eighth minute. One can't doubt his abilities, as he has more goals for club and country than Lionel Messi and Crisitano Ronaldo had before turning 19.

Pulisic, who was the target of some hard fouls by the Panamanian team, was substituted early in the second half for Dax McCarty with the USA chasing a fourth. Because of that, teams are taking notice.

Who knows why this didn't happen in September, when the United States lost to Costa Rica, barely drew Honduras, and pundits said Pulisic still had a lot to prove. Between goals and assists, he's had a hand in 11 of the 15 goals the Americans scored in the Hex stage of qualifying. It will be physical, and it'll step on the gas for the entire 90 minutes. I'd be more okay with this if the overly cautious lineup didn't trip over itself to concede the dumbest goals possible, but a team that neither sells out to put its stars in the best possible position to score goals nor prevents goals on the other end is a poorly set-up team.

As a whole, the team needs to be more forward thinking and not be content sitting back and waiting for opportunities. "We knew we were coming to a place where we were going to have heavy support, as we did here tonight, and we knew we just had to make sure we were the protagonist tonight, and put them under pressure from the first minute, and we did that".

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