After Friday night’s overwhelming win over Honduras, many US fans are breathing a massive sigh of relief. Had the US not picked up all three points, they would have been in extremely dire straits trying to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year. But nobody needed to worry as the US went up after less than five minutes and the rout was on from there. With the win the US moved up to fourth in the Hex. Next up is a challenging road trip down to Panama City to take on Panama.
With respect to Clint Dempsey (who dropped his second ever USMNT hat trick) the best player on the field for the US on Friday was 18 wunderkind Christian Pulisic. He not only bagged his fourth international goal, but also picked up a pair of assists and generally carved Honduras apart. Michael Bradley got on the scoresheet as well, despite a shaky outing early on, with a couple of giveaways that fans have come to expect from him. And Sebastian Lletget got the scoring started with his first career international goal, but was forced out with an injury in only the 18th minute. Defensively, the US back four did an ok job, given that they were not test a whole lot. Geoff Cameron probably played the best of the bunch while Omar Gonzalez probably played the worst, as it was his mistake that allowed Honduras to have their most dangerous scoring chance. Overall though this was the best, most complete and most dominating performance from the US in quite some time. The surge in positivity and good vibes will be key for when they have to play a game in a hostile road environment. The opponent in that hostile environment is Panama.
Panama is off to about as good of a start to the Hex as they could have dreamed. They currently sit third in the Hex with 4 points from three games. They won their first game on the road against Honduras 1-0 before getting a 0-0 draw at home against Mexico. On Friday they didn’t get a good result as they fell 1-0 to Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain. Panama of course will be looking to avenge the result of the last time the hosted the US in a World Cup Qualifier. In October of 2013 Panama needed a win to secure the fourth place playoff spot and were leading the US 2-1 in the 91st minute when Graham Zusi scored an equalizer (thus saving Mexico) to break Panamanian hearts. Since that night a coaching change has been made. Hernan Dario Gomez is the man calling the shots for Los Canaleros and he’s done incredibly well in that capacity guiding Panama to third place in the 2014 Copa Centroamericana and third place in the 2015 Gold Cup, as well as getting Panama to their second consecutive Hex. The Panama roster consists of a few players playing the and US and a few in Europe: Roman Torres of the Seattle Sounders, Adolfo Machado of the Houston Dynamo, Amir Murillo of the New York Red Bulls, Armando Cooper of Toronto FC, Anibal Godoy of the San Jose Earthquakes and Miguel Camargo of New York City round out the MLS contingent while Jamie Penedo of Dinamo Bucuresti in Romania, Erick Davis of Dunajska Streda in Slovakia, Fidel Escobar of Sporting Lisbon’s youth team in Portugal, Gabriel Torres of Lausanne Sport in Switzerland and Tony Taylor of Pacos de Ferreira in Portugal round out the European contingent.
• With his hat trick on Friday night, Clint Dempsey is now just two goals behind Landon Donovan on the US scoring list. Donovan has 57 goals while Dempsey sits at 55.
• Paul Arriola was added to the US roster on Saturday.
• The complete Hex standings are as follows: Mexico (7 points), Costa Rica (6 points), Panama (4 points), USA (3 points), Trinidad & Tobago (3 points) and Honduras (3 points).
When and where to watch the Panama-USA game on US TV and streaming
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Estadio Rommel Fernandez
Panama City, Panama
TV: beIN SPORTS, Telemundo and Universo
Streaming: fuboTV (7-day free trial)
USA leads 11-1-4
USA’s last game
July 25, 2015
Talen Energy Stadium
USA 1-1 Panama 1 (Panama won 3-2 on penalties)
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