Preview: Panama vs. USA

The USA can potentially qualify for the knockout stage of the Copa America on Thursday when they face Panama in matchday two action at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

In their opening match, the tournament hosts had no trouble with Bolivia, winning 2-0, while Los Canaleros lost 3-1 to Uruguay.

Match preview

For over 80 minutes, the Panamanians were within striking distance in their opening fixture before falling apart in the latter stages.

Thomas Christiansen’s men gave up two goals in the final five minutes of the second half plus stoppage time, losing consecutive fixtures for the second time this year.

Since taking charge of this team in 2020, the Danish manager has never suffered three successive defeats on the international stage, a streak that will be in jeopardy on Thursday.

After losing their final two matches at the 2023-24 CONCACAF Nations League, this team have won consecutive games against teams in their region, winning their two World Cup qualifiers this month by a combined score of 5-1.

A defeat combined with a victory for Uruguay versus Bolivia would officially eliminate the Panamanians from this competition for the second time in two appearances.

La Marea Roja have emerged victorious in two of their previous three meetings with the Americans, most recently defeating them on penalties in the semi-finals of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

In front of over 47,000 fans, the host nation gave their supporters something to cheer about early, scoring after three minutes and doubling their advantage just before the interval.

In the opening half, it was one-way traffic for the Yanks, as they managed 18 touches in the attacking box, while the Bolivians did not have any over that span.

Two moments of pure class were more than enough for Gregg Berhalter’s men on the day, as the 50-year-old coach recorded his 44th victory in charge of this team, surpassing Bob Bradley for third all-time, with only Jurgen Klinsmann (55) and Bruce Arena (81) registering more.

That was the Americans’ third successive victory in the group stage of this tournament and the third straight time they failed to concede in this portion of the competition.

Since a new rotational system was implemented to host this event in 1987, every host nation has made it beyond the group stage of this competition, and an American victory, combined with a Uruguayan win or draw, would ensure that streak continues.

Only once have we seen the United States lose to Panama on home soil in normal time, when the Yanks suffered a 2-1 defeat to them at MetLife Stadium during the group phase of the 2011 Gold Cup.

Team News

This past weekend, we saw three newcomers to the Panamanian starting 11 who had not begun their previous friendly with Paraguay – Edgardo Farina, Jose Luis Rodriguez, and Adalberto Carrasquilla.

Carrasquilla, who plays for the Houston Dynamo, is one of three individuals on this roster currently featuring for an American club, along with Omar Valencia (New York Red Bulls II) and Carlos Harvey (Minnesota United).

Michael Murillo had the only goal in their defeat against Uruguay, the eighth for the Marseille defender in a Panamanian shirt.

The average age of the US starting 11 on matchday one was 25 years and 339 days, with the youngest being Joe Scally at 21, while Tim Ream became the oldest American player to feature in this tournament (36 years and 261 days).

On Sunday, Tyler Adams made the starting 11 for the first time since their victory over Mexico in the March Nations League final, while Giovanni Reyna has started four consecutive matches for the Yanks.

Folarin Balogun netted his fourth with the national team, while Christian Pulisic became the third American to score in five different competitions, joining Eric Wynalda and Clint Dempsey.

Panama possible starting lineup:
Mosquera; Murillo, Farina, Cordoba, Miller, Davis; Rodriguez, Welch, Carrasquilla, Barcenas; Fajardo

USA possible starting lineup:
Turner; Scally, Ream, Richards, A. Robinson; Reyna, Musah, McKennie; Weah, Balogun, Pulisic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *