The U.S. Men’s National Team attacked from the first whistle and utilized a first-half brace from Jozy Altidore as well as well-crafted strikes from Christian Pulisic and Bobby Wood to earn a 4-0 win against Panama in from of a sell-out crowd of 25,303 at Orlando City Stadium. With the victory, the USA (3-3-3; 12 pts.) jumped over Panama and into third place in CONCACAF’s Final Round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup heading into its Matchday 10 visit to Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday.
The Panamanians had conceded only five goals in the first eight games of the Hexagonal, but the U.S. attack tore them apart on Friday, scoring two goals in the first 19 minutes and four overall in a victory that put the U.S. on the threshold of advancing to World Cup 2018 in Russia.
The U.S. signaled its intent five minutes into the match when Altidore’s low cross from the left found Wood at the penalty spot, before the forward pulled his effort just past the right post.
It took just three more minutes for the U.S. to hit the target, when a goal kick from Tim Howard was headed on by Wood to Altidore. The veteran forward played a simple pass into stride for Pulisic, who breezed through the Panama back line and rounded goalkeeper Jaime Penedo before tucking his shot over the line.
The U.S. doubled its lead in the 19th minute, when Darlington Nagbe lofted a ball to Pulisic in space on the left. Pulisic held up before powering past Michael Murillo and centering a perfect ball for Altidore who tapped home his 40th career goal.
“We needed a lot of movement against a physical Panama team that’s going to sit in and not make it easy for us,” said Pulisic. “Our movement was good today. I was able to play off those guys, and they had some great layoffs to me. I think the spacing was pretty good for most of the night. Still some things we can do better, but I think the gameplan was pretty much executed.”
The third goal came just before halftime thanks in large part to the hard work of Wood, who navigated through three Panama defenders before being hauled down by Armando Cooper in the penalty area, forcing referee Roberto Garcia to point to the spot. Altidore calmly lobbed his effort straight down the middle to give the USA a 3-0 lead in 43rd minute.
Wood was rewarded for all his hard work after halftime, when a nice combination with Paul Arriola opened up enough space for the 25-year-old striker to bury his 10th career goal inside the left post in the 63 rd minute.
The U.S. continued to press the attack late and nearly gathered a fifth goal when Arriola broke through on the right, but Penedo came up big once again to push the ball past the right post in the 80th minute.
With the win, the U.S. (3-3-3; 12 pts.) jumps over Panama and into third position in CONCACAF’s Final Round World Cup Qualifying table, where it will almost assuredly stay heading into Tuesday’s Hex finale at Trinidad & Tobago.
Next on the Schedule: The MNT can book its ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a win at Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Matchday 10 kickoff from Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad is set for 8 p.m. ET and can be seen live on beIN Sports and UNIVERSO.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore), 8th minute: Just moments after Wood’s effort past the post, the USA would grab the early lead in clinical fashion. Tim Howard lofted a goal kick from the back that Wood rose to nod into the center circle. The ball fell nicely for Altidore, who touched into stride for Pulisic. At full speed, the U.S. attacker burst past the sliding challenge of Román Torres and into the box, where he rounded Jaime Penedo to the right and sent a sharp finish from a wide angle into the opposite corner. USA1, PAN 0
USA – Jozy Altidore (Christian Pulisic), 19th minute: Pulisic returned the favor for Altidore 11 minutes later. The U.S. caught Panama out in transition, with Nagbe sending a great ball over the top and into space for Pulisic. The 19-year-old danced up the left touchline, toying with Michael Murillo before gliding past him and centering a pass for Altidore, who beat his mark to slot past Penedo.USA 2, PAN 0
USA – Jozy Altidore (penalty kick), 43rd minute: The U.S. took a three-goal lead just before halftime. Continuously active throughout the first frame, Wood exchanged a pass with Arriola on the right, before spinning Felipe Baloy and splitting two Panama defenders to gain entry into the box before being hauled down by Armando Cooper. Altidore coolly stepped up and chipped his effort straight down the middle as Penedo guessed left. The goal pulled Altidore back into a tie with Clint Dempsey as joint-leaders atop the U.S. MNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying goals list with 18. USA 3, PAN 0
USA – Bobby Wood (Paul Arriola), 63rd minute: After a night of hard work, Wood got his name on the score sheet. The forward started the play by swinging the ball out to the right for Arriola, who cut inside and laid off for Wood. Wood took one touch and pivoted before slotting his 10th career international goal past Penedo and inside the left post.
USA 4, PAN 0 FINAL
- The U.S. MNT is 12-1-6 all-time vs. Panama, 6-0-2 in World Cup Qualifying and 4-0-0 in home qualifiers.
- Bruce Arena is 4-0-4 in eight all-time matches vs. Los Canaleros and 4-0-2 in World Cup Qualifying.
- Altidore’s two goals took his international tally to 41. The brace also pulled Altidore back into a tie with Clint Dempsey as joint-leaders atop the U.S. MNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying goals list with 18.
- The MNT is 11-0-1 when Altidore scores in World Cup Qualifying
- With eight goals, Altidore leads all active CONCACAF players in scoring during 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying and sits one behind leader Carlos Ruiz (Guatemala).
- Altidore’s assist on Pulisic’s opener was his seventh in World Cup Qualifying, putting him into a tie for second with John Harkes on the MNT’s qualifying assist list.
- Christian Pulisic opened the scoring with an eighth minute goal and added an assist on Altidore’s 19th minute finish. The 19-year-old now has eighth international goals and six in World Cup Qualifying.
- While he has recorded four goals and four assists during the Final Round of qualifying, Pulisic has contributed in some way to 11 of the USA’s 15 goals during the Hex.
- Bobby Wood’s 63rd minute strike was the 10th of his international career and fifth in World Cup Qualifying.
- Altidore made his 40th World Cup Qualifying appearance, tying him with Landon Donovan for second on the MNT’s all-time list.
- Altidore and Bradley made their team-leading 14th appearances of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
- Altidore (10) and Wood (4) have tallied 14 goals in the 10 international matches they have started together.
- Besler and Omar Gonzalez paired in central defense for the fifth time in 2017. The MNT is 3-0-2 when they’ve partnered together this year and is 8-3-6 all-time when the two line up together as center backs.
- Jorge Villafaña made his 13th appearance of the year, tying Graham Zusi for the team lead in 2017.
- After missing September’s qualifiers through injury, DeAndre Yedlin returned to the starting XI and played the full 90 minutes against Panama.
- Hailing from the Orlando suburb of Winter Park, Fla., Dax McCarty made his World Cp Qualifying debut, replacing Pulisic in the 57th minute.
- The U.S. avoided being shown a yellow card during the match, making all players eligible for Matchday 10 at Trinidad & Tobago.
- In order to get the gameday roster down to 23 players, defender Michael Orozco and midfielder Juan Agudelo did not dress for tonight’s match.
– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Panama
Date: Oct. 6 , 2017
Competition: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Final Round
Venue: Orlando City Stadium; Orlando, Fla.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 25,303 (so)
Weather: 78 degrees; mostly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 1 4
PAN 0 0 0
USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore) 8th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (Christian Pulisic) 19
USA – Jozy Altidore (penalty) 43
USA – Bobby Wood (Paul Arriola) 63
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 15-Jorge Villafaña; 4-Michael Bradley (capt.); 21-Paul Arriola, 10-Christian Pulisic (13-Dax McCarty, 57), 6-Darlington Nagbe (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 79); 9-Bobby Wood, 17-Jozy Altidore (8-Clint Dempsey, 71)
Subs not used: 12-Brad Guzan, 22-Nick Rimando, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 14-Tim Ream, 16-Benny Feilhaber, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 19-Graham Zusi, 20-Geoff Cameron, 23-Kellyn Acosta
Head coach: Bruce Arena
PAN: 1-Jaime Penedo; 2-Michael Murillo, 23-Felipe Baloy (4-Fidel Escobar, 46), 5-Román Torres, 6-Gabriel Gòmez; 19-Alberto Quintero, 8-Édgar Bárcenas (11-Armando Cooper, 26), 20-Aníbal Godoy, 17-Luis Ovalle; 9-Gabriel Torres, 7-Blas Pérez (22-Abdiel Arroyo, 60)
Subs not used: 12-José Calderón, 15-Érick Davis, 13-Adolfo Machado, 3-Juan Carlos Vargas, 10-Ricardo Buitrago, 16-José González, 21-Roberto Nurse, 18-Luis Tejada
Head coach: Hernán Darío Gómez
Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots: 15 / 9
Shots on Goal: 8 / 2
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 4
Fouls: 16 / 11
Offside: 1 / 3
PAN – Felipe Baloy (caution) 34th minute
PAN – Armando Cooper (caution) 42
PAN – Michael Murillo (caution) 48