United States vs Panama CONCACAF WC Qualifiers

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The United States national team's penultimate World Cup qualifier was supposed to be 90 minutes of anxiety, Pulisic turned it into a party in just eight minutes.

On Friday at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN2, the USMNT hosts Panama and then they close out the qualifying hexagonal at Trinidad and Tobago at 5 p.m. on beIN Sports. The United States has not won in three consecutive games, most recently coming off a 1-1 draw against Honduras and needs to get wins in these last two games. What he gives up, and what he gets back in return, will determine how far the United States will go next summer in Russian Federation.

Arena brought in defender Michael Orozco and midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Juan Agudelo for Friday's game against Panama at Orlando, Florida, and the qualifying finale four days later at Trinidad. However, this time, they have a pretty fair chance of qualifying as now, they are in the tournament on paper but it may not turn out that way eventually if they mess up in their final two matches against the United States of America and Costa Rica, both of which are pretty tough ones.

The four-goal margin of victory was also helpful for the US -it left the Americans with a plus-5 goal difference and Panama at minus-two. The USA had gotten complacent, even foolishly scheduling the game in the NY area, which is heavily populated by Costa Rican fans. Panama did what most CONCACAF minnows do when they face a player who completely outclasses them and opted to foul the hell out of Pulisic all night. But it would result in a two-leg playoff with either Australia or Syria for one of the final spots in Russian Federation.

Despite the uncertain depth chart and fierce competition for playing time, Reis said, Howard and Guzan support one another. He left the prestigious Serie A in Italy for a big pay day in the MLS. Instead, a pro-Tico crowd saw the USA get countered to death in a 2-0 loss.

With the draw, the U.S. stayed tied with the Hondurans in the last qualifying spot and gives them a chance to move into the last automatic slot.

The Ticos have 15 points and play at home against Honduras on Friday, and then finish at Panama. "We have to respect our opponent, we have to put the right players on field, understand the conditions". That's a different scenario than drawing a direct line from a troubled World Cup qualifying campaign to the World Cup. A victory for the Panamanians would all but clinch their nation's first World Cup berth. The biggest difference between Friday night and the dismal offensive showings against Costa Rica and Honduras in September? But the emergence of Costa Rica as a force in CONCACAF, along with Panama and Honduras, who always put up a good fight, has put the Americans in a precarious situation.

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Mathematically speaking, the USMNT still has a great chance to make it to Russian Federation (83 percent, per ESPN's SPI). That's big. As things stand, the USA could still tie with Panama on points if the Panamanians beat Costa Rica and the US draws with Trinidad.

Friday's game also gives Panama a golden opportunity to avenge their agonising 2013 qualifying loss to the United States.Four years ago, Panama needed only to beat the U.S. at home to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.But two USA goals in stoppage time turned what looked like being a 2-1 Panamanian win into a 3-2 American victory to leave the hosts devastated.

However, Graham Zusi scored a stoppage time goal to get a draw and save Mexico. The goal differential lead could prevent inclusion in a playoff match with a team from Asia that comes with the fourth-place spot.

"A Mexican commentator said "¡Gol Estados Unidos! "God bless America!" while watching the end of that U.S. game in 2013 split screen with Mexico's last game. They need to qualify for the World Cup.

The FIFA World Cup is the pinnacle of world soccer.

"People can come in and say it's just another game, but the reality is it's not just another game", winger Paul Arriola said.

Once in, then the focus can shift on what kind of team the USMNT can bring to Russian Federation this summer. "They could have had 10 goals", he said in declaring the Americans "immensely superior" in every way in the match, and his team's play as "muy, muy mal" - very, very bad.

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