Published: 2022-03-26 By: The Guru
The USA will host Panama on Monday 28th in the second-last round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. After a hard-fought nil-nil draw with their rivals Mexico, the Yanks have a decent shot at the World Cup come November.
The traveling squad is also chasing after a spot in the top four for a chance at the playoffs. Panama is fifth in the standings, one point off Costa Rica in fourth. With a four-point gap and six points left, this matchup will have supporters on their toes.
The USA failed to qualify in the previous World Cup. This time, there is hope, although they could still fail to qualify again. If they lose on Sunday, lose in the last round, and the two teams below win their last two matches, the USA may not qualify. It seems far-fetched, but you can never be too sure.
After a 1-1 draw with Honduras, Panama will walk into the pitch unbeaten in their last four World Cup qualifying matches. On the other hand, their hosts are unbeaten in their previous two World Cup qualifying matches.
Interestingly, Panama was the better team in their last meeting. It was a shocker back in October 2021 when Anibal Godoy scored the only goal, which saw the Yanks lose out to the Panamanians. Will we see a repeat of this? The 1-0 loss was the third against Panama, with the Yanks having seventeen wins and four draws in their last twenty-four matches.
In their last match against Mexico, the USA had 37% ball possession and nine shots compared to Mexico’s 11. On the other hand, the USA had four shots on target and conceded two on target.
It is unlikely to see Gregg Berhalter making many changes to the USA squad, but Giovanni Reyna might start on Sunday as Timothy Weah picked up a yellow card in the last match.
In their previous World Cup qualifying match, Rolando Blackburn gave Panama an early 23rd minute lead against Honduras. However, the Panamanian defenders could not keep their legs closed as Honduras grabbed an equalizer in the 65th minute. The game ended with Panama managing one shot on target.
Unlike last time, Panama will be playing on hostile grounds. The USA must utilize the home advantage and crowd support for a chance at the 2022 World Cup. All odds are in their favor, and they are the likely team to win. However, it would not be right to belittle Panama.
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