The US men’s national team put on a dominant performance against Panama Friday night in Orlando Stadium, winning 4-0 and virtually assuring their presence in Russia for the 2018 World Cup.
In just the eighth minute, Jozy Altidore tipped a pass to American wunderkind Christian Pulisic. The Borussia Dortmund winger corralled the high pass with a flash of his left foot, brought it down, rounded Panama keeper Jaime Penedo, and finished at an ungodly angle to make it 1-0 after just 8 minutes.
The US doubled up shortly afterward, as Pulisic hammered a low pass from the left side to Altidore. Jozy streaked beyond the Panamanian back line to the back post to receive the cross and finished with an effortless one-touch tap into the net.
Just before the half, Bobby Wood twisted and turned his way through several Panamanian defenders to get into the box and was tugged down. Jozy Altidore got the PK opportunity, and created quite the memory as he Panenka’ed Penedo to make it 3-0.
And after the half, Bobby Wood would drive an extra nail into the coffin. Off a pass from Paul Arriola, Wood wheeled around almost 180 degrees and found the far left of goal to make it 4-0.
The result moves the US to third in the CONCACAF hex, and short of some bizarre final-match results, will be going to Russia.
The result moves Panama into fourth. Their fate depends on Honduras losing to Costa Rica Saturday and their getting a result at home against the Ticos on Tuesday.
Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard made two saves, but was barely tested on the night. Former Rapids forward Gabriel Torres got the start for Panama, and had a forgettable night, blasting his only shot of the night well wide of the net.
Burgundy Wave photographer John Babiak had a front row seat for some epic photographs. Tap the grey arrows at the sides to scroll through. Enjoy!
- Jozy Altidore finishes Christian Pulisic’s pass, and the US go up two on Panama. Bobby Wood makes his ‘Oh!’ face. John Babiak, @Photog_JohnB
- Jozy woke up Friday in Beast Mode. John Babiak, @Photog_JohnB
- Christian Pulisic was a problem for Panama all game. Here he gets the goal that began the US landslide. Jon Babiak, @Photog_JohnB
- Pulisic celebrates after scoring a phenomenal goal for the national team. John Babiak, @Photog_JohnB