U.S. takes big step toward Russian Federation by thrashing Panama

He scored Panama's goal in its home World Cup qualifier against the US this year.

Jozy Altidore, who promised much when he signed with MLS at age 16, has never lived up to his undoubted potential.

Thankfully, that potentially nerve-shredding encounter looks unlikely to eventuate, after the U.S. men's national team rediscovered its mojo to demolish Panama 4-0 and move up to third place in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying ladder.

That goal settled stomachs as the United States eased to a 4-0 victory in a crucial World Cup qualifier. Jozy Altidore and Christian Pulisic led the way in the romp, with Altidore bagging a brace and delivering an assist while Pulisic scored one goal and set up another.

The U.S. have been punching far below their weight, and there's not much about them right now that's really worth believing in besides the brilliance of Christian Pulisic.

"I thought we were smart in how we went about it", Bradley said on Friday night. Not exactly imposing foes for a team stacked with dudes who play in top European leagues and also CONCACAF's greatest cyborg.

Howard, the starter at the World Cups in South Africa and Brazil, appears to be the front-runner.

It was a banner night for the Americans, who jumped out to an early lead in front of the sold-out crowd of 25,303. A loss or a draw would have forced the US team, under the best-case scenario, into a two-game playoff against another country that had also failed to automatically qualify.

Pulisic "is a star", said right back DeAndre Yedlin. "We all felt it and felt a big responsibility for the team and for our country". It shows a lot about his qualities as a player, and what he's doing is fantastic.

However, USA's fixtures seem quite light as they will first be playing Panama at home following which, they will be up against Trinidad and Tobago. "We needed a win but the job's not done". The burly striker made it 3-0 just seconds before half time when he chipped home a penalty after Bobby Wood was upended in the box. But moments later, Altidore gave the USA the 3-0 lead when he converted on a penalty kick in the 43rd minute.

But with the United States heavily favoured to account for Trinidad and Tobago, Socceroos fans can breathe a caveat-laced sigh of relief they will not have to face opposition with the prestige of the Americans, powered by super kid Christian Pulisic. That left plenty of space for Panama to attack and in the seventh minute old-timer Blas Perez flicked on a pass to Gabriel Torres, who nutmegged Omar Gonzalez and had an open shot at goal, only to skew it well wide.

This time, the Gold Shorties are in a brilliant position to qualify with 15 points, three behind Mexico and are assured of at least a playoff spot. This was Panama, after all, in Florida on a hot night in October.

Pulisic left the field to rapturous applause on 56 minutes and the house was brought down yet again on 63 minutes as Wood capped an industrious performance with a well taken strike.

"It was a good win for our team", manager Arena said afterwards. And I believe we're prepared to do that.

"On a team note, it was great". A win at last-place Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday will clinch a spot in Russian Federation, while a tie will likely do so as well.

The past four meetings between the two nations ended 1-1 after match-ups in qualifying and the CONCACAF Gold Cup but USA was in complete control from the outset as Panama was camped in its own half early in Orlando.

  • Stacy Allen