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Pulisic is Saving Grace For USMNT
December 16 2017, 04:49 | Sammy Rose
2:10 | Soccer Why Soccer in America Would Take Big Blow if USMNT Can't Qualify for 2018 World Cup
A win would put the U.S.in its eighth straight World Cup as long as Honduras does not defeat the Ticos and Mexico while overcoming its goal difference against the USA, which is now 12. Instead of running full speed, all of Panama's defenders have gone flat-footed.
And the second came before the 20-minute mark, when Pulisic beat his defender on the left flank and curled a ideal pass across the Panama goalmouth for Altidore to tuck away for the 2-0 advantage.
"Across the board we had guys ready for a big game".
Altidore's Panenka penalty in the 43rd minute ended the match as a contest after Bobby Wood was fouled inside the area before the latter completed the scoring past the hour-mark.
19-year-old Christian Pulisic celebrates giving his side the lead. "We all felt it and felt a big responsibility for the team and for our country". Darlington Nagbe was his usual confident self on the ball working the left wing, and while he had the quietest night among the USA attackers, he still provided a calming presences when needed. "They've had a good qualifying campaign to date.They're a team in third place - so they're ahead of us".
Pulisic was the mastermind behind most of the United States' unsafe attacks and wasted no time in making his impact felt. This time we gave them space and that was the error. "Made it a home crowd and we really appreciate them". It's a stark contrast to the beginning of the year, when the US' seven-time qualification streak seemed in peril. Failure to advance to Russian Federation would amount to a humiliating setback for the US men's soccer program, which still badly lags that of the sport's élite countries in Europe and South America. In the matches since, the US attack had grown a bit predictable and overly reliant on Pulisic, which made it easy for opposing defenses to neutralize the Americans.
Pulisic got the Americans off to an electric start with a tremendous individual effort en route to the opening goal in the eighth minute. And I think he gets the great thing about sports: "Now you have an opportunity to get paid for your opinion when you're finished playing, and it's a good thing".
Pulisic broke free out wide and rolled an inch-perfect delivery across the six-yard box and straight to Altidore at the back post for a simple side-footed finish.
"People can come in and say it's just another game, but the reality is it's not just another game", winger Paul Arriola said. "He did what he wanted".
The most important thing for the U.S.to do is win on Friday.
But minutes before the end of the first half, the USA put the game on ice thanks to a powerful, clinical move from Wood.
"It was a good win for our team", U.S. manager Bruce Arena said. He's the best player on the team not only because of what he does as an individual, but because he makes his teammates better. He had a goal and an assist playing through the middle of the pitch, dictating play all night in Orlando.
Gomez will be hoping for strong performances from players like Roman Torres and Armando Cooper who have got Panama into this position.
The U.S. Men's National Team raced to a three-goal halftime lead and cruised to a dominating 4-0 victory over Panama on Friday night in Orlando, Fla.in their penultimate game of the CONCACAF Hexagonal for World Cup qualifying.
Panama, for their part, can qualify for the World Cup for the first time in their history by beating the Americans so there is plenty at stake tonight.