Sport 3 things the USMNT must do to defeat Panama in crucial World Cup qualifier

23:11  06 october  2017
23:11  06 october  2017 Source:   theScore

Starting USA goalkeeper spot up for grabs ahead of crucial World Cup qualifier

  Starting USA goalkeeper spot up for grabs ahead of crucial World Cup qualifier Will Bruce Arena give Tim Howard a chance to redeem himself, or will he turn to an in-form Brad Guzan to start against Panama on Friday?SANFORD, Florida — The month of September wasn't a memorable one for the U.S. national team, nor was it for its goalkeepers.

Next week the USMNT host Panama (Oct. 6) and then head to Trinidad & Tobago (Oct. 10) in two crucial 2018 World Cup qualifiers which they dare not lose as their four-year cycle comes down to two games.

[ MORE: Three things from the USMNT ’s defeat against Costa Rica ]. On top of that, Mexico took care of business at home against Panama , with a 1-0 result, giving El Tri the first of three automatic spots in next year’s World Cup .

  3 things the USMNT must do to defeat Panama in crucial World Cup qualifier © Icon Sportswire / Getty The U.S. men's national team hosts Panama in the penultimate game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying "hex" stage, and the stakes couldn't be much higher for Bruce Arena's fourth-placed side.

A win, and the U.S. set up well to book a spot in Russia next summer, but a loss or draw throws serious doubt into that World Cup berth. With that in mind, here are three things the U.S. must do to come out on top:

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Keep it simple

  3 things the USMNT must do to defeat Panama in crucial World Cup qualifier © Provided by theScore

Arena called in a significantly more experienced squad for this final round of matches, and while there are plenty of familiar names, that doesn't necessarily indicate that this is the best possible squad. But familiarity breeds comfort, and potentially, some much-needed on-field chemistry.

In danger of missing World Cup, US needs win over Panama

  In danger of missing World Cup, US needs win over Panama Months and months of stumbles have put the United States in a precarious position. Preparing for Friday's crucial qualifier against Panama, the U.S. held a closed-doors scrimmage Wednesday against Orlando City's B team. A victory Friday would put the U.S. on track to reach its eighth straight World Cup with a win or possibly a tie at Trinidad and Tobago next week. Less than a victory against the Panamanians could lead to either a playoff next month or elimination.

After subpar play earlier in the World Cup qualifiers , the squad pretty much needs to win their matchup against Panama on Friday night to not miss the tournament altogether. Comments (0). The USMNT is hanging by a thread when it comes to World Cup qualifying .

The U.S. Men's National Team faces a crucial test in its 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign in In fact, the U.S. hasn’t defeated Los Canaleros since it memorably used two stoppage time goals to knock the Panama Announces Roster for September World Cup Qualifiers vs. USA, Costa Rica.

The U.S. has struggled to combine meaningfully in recent tilts, so turning to a core group who have lots of experience should at least help strengthen those passing connections or overlapping runs. It's why Arena would be wise to also ignore the allure of the 3-5-2 formation he has been pondering in the build-up to this match; a drastic formation shift now would only complicate an otherwise straightforward plan.

Having conceded just five goals in eight matches, Panama will sit back and absorb pressure, which should afford the U.S. full-backs ample opportunity to join the attack. But a change in formation at this stage might compromise the defensive solidity needed to actually see out the match to a win. In the end, it might be better to keep things simple.

VIDEO: Pulisic scores Messi-like goal for U.S. vs. Panama

  VIDEO: Pulisic scores Messi-like goal for U.S. vs. Panama The 19-year-old walked his way around goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to give the Americans an early lead in their crucial World Cup qualifier in OrlandoThe 19-year-old Pulisic looked a lot like the Barcelona star as he blew past Panama defenders and tip-toed around goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to give the U.S. a one-goal lead in Friday's World Cup qualifier.

As things stand, the USMNT sits in third place in WCQ on eight points and three matches left to play. Last week’s game was the first World Cup qualifier in the New York metropolitan area. [ MORE: U.S. faces must -win trip to Honduras in World Cup qualifying ]. The last U.S. home

Three things we learned from the U.S. national team’s 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica on Friday… Three matches remain in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying , and the USMNT is in a heated battle for a place in Russia next summer with both Honduras and Panama .

Don't panic on the counter

  3 things the USMNT must do to defeat Panama in crucial World Cup qualifier © Provided by theScore

Panama's offense is effective because its quick, tricky-footed attackers catch teams off guard on the restart, and while the stakes are high in this match, it is crucial that the U.S. does not get too caught up in the tempo of the match in front of the raucous Orlando crowd.

The gut feeling will be to come out guns blazing, but Arena would be wise to use Michael Bradley to organize the backline and implement a defensive strategy similar to Toronto FC's: namely, don't get burned by lunging into half-tackles. Instead, the U.S. defense should take its time, help one another out, watch and wait, operate in one voice, and try not to make panicked decisions. Players like Panama midfielder Armando Cooper can terrify with a deft trick, but lose possession in one breath. Remaining calm and composed is key.

Understand the consequence of failure

  3 things the USMNT must do to defeat Panama in crucial World Cup qualifier © Provided by theScore

There's no sugarcoating this: a loss and the U.S. might very well miss out on the World Cup. There would be consequences to that absence for the team, its players, and U.S. soccer in general.

3 unsung heroes from the USMNT’s World Cup qualifying win

  3 unsung heroes from the USMNT’s World Cup qualifying win The United States got a huge win over Panama on Friday night, with Christian Pulisic and Jozy Altidore grabbing a lot of headlines with fantastic performances up front in the 4-0 win. But three other players who sailed under the radar a bit deserve a lot of plaudits for their performances, because the U.S. would not have dominated the game like it did without them. Huge savings on NFL game-used items, autographs and more See the deals Sponsored by Sportsmemorabilia.com Bobby WoodWood scored the USMNT’s final goal of the night, but that was just the cherry on top of his performance.

The U.S. has put itself into a position of peril, but things truly turn dire if they fail to pick themselves Scroll Down For: Australia to host Syria in Sydney in World Cup qualifier . AP Photo/Vahid Salemi. [ MORE: USMNT ’s World Cup scenarios ]. Even worse? A draw against stingy Panama , which has

For USMNT fans, it’s been a tough go thus far, (writes Jonathan Molik). The last four times out against Panama have resulted in a 1-1 draw, with three of those in Gold Cup play and one World Cup qualifier in Panama City.

The players are well aware that missing the tournament could see the national program fall from the general public's gaze for at least the next four years. And for players like Tim Howard, DaMarcus Beasley, and Clint Dempsey, who are likely to retire by 2022, missing this World Cup would also be a bitter farewell from that public eye.

Meanwhile, Bradley, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron, Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Dax McCarty, and Alejandro Bedoya will all be in their mid-30s by the time 2022 comes around, and as Brian Sciaretta of American Soccer Now astutely points out, the next generation of U.S. talent is comparably lacking in quality, and that doesn't bode well for the next World Cup qualifying cycle, either.

U.S. soccer is on the rise, but can it survive a major setback over the next four years? Probably at the MLS level, yes, but it would be a significant step back for national interest and that might perhaps seep into the organization's youth programs, too.

In any case, there's no need to panic just yet. Do the job, and all those fears will disappear.

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

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Panama helped into World Cup by bizarre phantom goal call .
Let’s get one thing straight: The United States does not deserve to make the World Cup after an awful performance against Trinidad and Tobago. But there’s no denying that Panama’s win over Costa Rica that helped them past the USMNT and into the tournament was aided by a phantom goal that shouldn’t have been allowed. In the 53rd minute, Blas Perez scored an equalizer against Los Ticos. Except there’s one big problem — the ball never crossed the line.Full look at Blas Pérez phantom goal given for #Panama vs #CostaRica in #PANCRC. Never crossed the line. Paging @CONCACAF. (via @tdmas_cr) pic.twitter.

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