ORLANDO, FL (October 6, 2017) – On Friday night in Orlando, FL the United States Men’s National Team showed up. In a virtual do-or-die game, the United States blew out Panama 4-0, behind phenomenal attacking play from Christian Pulisic and Jozy Altidore.
United States Starting XI (4-4-2 diamond): Tim Howard — DeAndre Yedlin, Omar González, Matt Besler, Jorge Flores Villafaña — Michael Bradley (C) — Paul Arriola, Darlington Nagbe — Christian Pulisic — Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood
Panama Starting XI (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo — Michael Murillo, Felipe Baloy, Román Torres, Luis Ovalle — Aníbal Godoy, Gabriel Gómez, Edgar Yoel Bárcenas, Alberto Quintero — Blas Pérez, Gabriel Torres
United States Blow Out Panama 4-0 To Move Into Third In Hexagonal
The match was a wide open mosh pit from the start. Panama relied on service to Gabriel Torres and Blas Pérez. The wingers cut in as well, trying to overload Michael Bradley in front of the back four. On the other side, it was the Christian Pulisic, Jozy Altidore, and Bobby Wood show.
In the 8th minute, Tim Howard fired a goal kick into the midfield. It was headed down by Wood to Altidore. Jozy tapped it to release Pulisic. The Wonder Boy blew past Román Torres, rounded Goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and scored.
Panama responded with a few chances of their own, but left themselves shorthanded at the back. In the 19th minute, Pulisic got the ball moving toward goal quickly. He created some space and fired a cross to the front of goal that Panama’s defense wasn’t ready for. Altidore attacked the ball and tapped it past Penedo to make it 2-0.
Pick your poison ☠️.
The Yanks weren’t done as they would score again just before halftime. The U.S. were comfortably possessing the ball when Bobby Wood made a darting run into the box. He cut through several players but was dragged down by substitute Armando Cooper in the box. A PK was called. Altidore stepped up and chipped Penedo down the middle to get his second of the game. The half ended 3-0.
Things slowed down in the second half. Panama was unable to create anything going forward, but the U.S. continued to push when opportunities in transition presented themselves. Wood and Paul Arriola in particular were dangerous.
Those two put the icing on the cake in the 63rd minute. Arriola made a run into the box and laid the ball off to Wood, who took a touch, spun around, and blasted it inside the far post.
.@BobbyS_Wood makin’ 💰 moves.
Absolute pandemonium in Orlando! pic.twitter.com/huKGvQh0EK
8′ United States – Christian Pulisic, assisted by Jozy Altidore
19′ United States – Jozy Altidore, assisted by Christian Pulisic
43′ United States – Jozy Altidore (PK)
63′ United States – Bobby Wood, assisted by Paul Arriola
Alexi Lalas called Bruce Arena and the leaders out after the last international break, and they clapped back. Bradley was solid at the base of the diamond. The attack was a tour de force with Pulisic, Altidore, Wood, and even Arriola. The defense adjusted as the game went on. Other than some chances for Panama at the start of a wide open game, this was a dominating performance and a fantastic result.
The Yanks are now third on the Hexagonal. They control their destiny to finish third, should they get a win against Trinidad & Tobago.
On the other side, this was described as the biggest moment in Panamanian sports history, and it/they did not live up to the hype. It was expected that Panama were going to weather the initial storm and bunker to start the game. The offense put up too little too late. The midfield was not prepared at all to neutralize Pulisic. They were expected to CONCACAF. Other than beating Americans up off the ball, they didn’t CONCACAF at all.