What to think about heading into US vs. Panama Friday night

Posted October 08, 2017

The top three teams clinch a 2018 World Cup qualifying birth.

And with that, the exact type of win the USA needed, one that results in three points and a massive amount of momentum. However, given the fact that they are only one point above both US and Honduras, losing or drawing both matches could make things look gloomy for Panama, with the former scenario eliminating them. A win would go a long way for an American team looking to fight its way to a World Cup berth.The Americans have a few key storylines that loom over Friday night's clash. "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". They have a great relationship, which shines through.

During the previous World Cup's qualifying campaign, US cruised into Brazil while Mexico were struggling throughout the final qualifying, eventually qualifying through an inter-confederation play-off. Its results from the first two matchdays in November left the United States of America in last place and with little margin for error. "We continue to grow the game in this country". The red, white and blue put on a show, rolling Honduras 6-0 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose as Clint Dempsey announced his return to the National Team after missing months with an irregular heartbeat.

Friday night's contest against Panama is absolutely huge regarding whether or not the team gets in. From the opening whistle, the aggressive US attack set the tempo and the tone for the match. Wood is at his best when he's stretching defenses, as he did often on Friday, with Altidore more focused on holding up balls underneath and laying them off for Pulisic.

"The attackers were electric". When they want to go let, go left, if they want to go right go right. All you had to do was read the sign to know it could have gone one of two ways.

As is the case when the team needs to demonstrate its resilience, the attack was relentless. Altidore, as it happened, was the assist man for Pulisic on his first goal.

In the second half, Wood collected a well-deserved goal in the 63rd minute, collecting Arriola's pass, turning and firing a 14-yard shot into the low left corner for his 10th worldwide goal.

Every major tournament lately England easily qualifies and yet they disappoint when they're not playing teams like Malta, Lithuania and Scotland.

He put the USMNT up 1-0 five minutes later with this goal, in which he almost breaks the sound barrier by scampering past four defenders faster than can be easily comprehended on first viewing, then rounds the keeper and scores.

You could feel the US attack feeding off of Pulisic's confidence, as every member of the group contributed, making Panama pay for giving the USA attack too much room to operate. "I think the spacing was pretty good for most of the night - there were still some things we could do better - I think the game plan was pretty much executed". "Across the board, guys came through in a big way". The Americans now hold down the third and final automatic berth from CONCACAF and can clinch a trip to Russian Federation next summer with a win Tuesday night at last-place Trinidad and Tobago.

"The job's not done yet", said Altidore after his Orlando brace.

While the USA was impressive going forward, it was suspect in the back.

"We control our own destiny", said Orlando native Graham Zusi. With a side who have played an average of 7 years with the national team, Costa Rica are bound to confirm their qualification when they conclude their match against Honduras, making their final game against Panama a formality. It's a stark contrast to the beginning of the year, when the US' seven-time qualification streak seemed in peril.