US 4-0 Panama

Peter Castro
October 8, 2017

But for all the hype and panic among fans and critics, any discussion of the U.S.' predicament should include a look at the history books. An extended stretch of lackluster form, including a loss to Costa Rica and a draw with Honduras during the September fixtures, created legitimate doubt about its World Cup prospects. Call it the Mexico exception, with El Tri showing in the last tournament that qualification only tells us so much.

All of those statements apply in the present, too, right down to Tuesday's qualifying finale at Trinidad. A squad that included Union sporting director Earnie Stewart and a 19-year-old Landon Donovan edged Jamaica, 2-1, in Foxborough, Mass. "But you can't help not see the difference he makes when he's on the field, especially when he's in the middle of everything". Yedlin's speed allowed him to push up in the US attack, and his work with Rafa Benítez at Newcastle United has turned him into a much more astute defender with more tactical awareness.

The U.S. ended up qualifying for the 2002 World Cup that day, thanks to surprising results elsewhere. The Americans know that, and they know the stakes. "This time I hope that it's filled with all Americans". ESPN2 and Univision will air the game live. And if the US excels in Russia, Pulisic will be why, too. However, if Honduras wins on Friday against Costa Rica, the US could be pushed out of the top four.

If the United States loses to Panama on Friday night, it'll stay at nine points, with Panama moving up to 13 points - meaning there's no way Team USA could pass them.

CONMEBOL qualifying stole the headlines on Thursday evening, particularly Argentina (wide eyes emoji), but the Road to Russian Federation continues on Friday around global qualification.

Another difference: The fourth-place Americans (2-3-3, 9 points) won't be able to qualify for Russian Federation on Friday.

With the win, the US solidified their hold on third place in the Hexagonal.

Panama, which was seeking revenge for the 3-2 defeat to the the final game of the 2013 qualifying campaign, which saw the Americans gift Mexico a spot in Brazil 2014, was quite simply overwhelmed and now will have eager eyes on the Honduras-Costa Rica match, which was postponed to Saturday due to (yet another) hurricane. "It's take care of our own business, worry about ourselves, win the games that are in front of us and we're going to the World Cup".

Getting three points on Friday would be monumental. It had been 12 years since the Americans faced such stress in the final round and, regardless of Friday's outcome, their fate would be decided in the 10th and final match.

In the second half Panama came out with renewed vigor and a new goal: beat the living tar out of Christian Pulisic.

The Panamanians responded with good spells of possession after going down 2-0, and forced US goalkeeper Tim Howard into action for the first time on the night at the half-hour mark. "On the night, we actually didn't finish well - we could've scored a lot more goals". Their defenders have a reputation for hacking, and their attackers have a reputation for flopping.

Tottenham star Kane: England captaincy won't make a difference
We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website and bring you more relevant advertising. Of course we'd have loved to have played more fluidly and scored more goals.

The US men's national team takes on Panama in a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying clash this Friday.

He expects a similar style of contest in Round 3.

"I thought we were smart in how we went about it", Bradley said on Friday night.

"Look, I just want to get to Russian Federation, man", said Altidore with a slight shake of his head.

However, USA's fixtures seem quite light as they will first be playing Panama at home following which, they will be up against Trinidad and Tobago. ESPN's pre-match coverage begins at 7 p.m.

Both sides had great scoring chances in the opening six minutes.

Christian Pulisic, the 19-year-old from Hershey, Pennsylvania, who is a rising star with Germany's Borussia Dortmund, helped energize the USA when he was shifted to central midfield from the flanks.

With the ease of a butterfly and the tenacity of a wasp, Pulisic ran onto a Jozy Altidore flick-on, floated through the Panama defense, rounded goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and finished into the empty net. However no nation, other than the host country, is guaranteed to qualify for the World Cup. (Hint: It won't be Pulisic.) Where does Clint Dempsey fit in all this? Jorge Villafana held down the spot for the Costa Rica match last month.

Despite some success attained earlier in the Hexagonal playing a three-man back line against Mexico and Honduras that triggered speculation by some observers he go away from the 4-4-2 formation, Arena played with a back four screened by Bradley.

The decisive 90 minutes will come on Tuesday, when the United States faces Trinidad and Tobago on the road.

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