Gold Cup Preview: U.S. vs Panama

Jurgen Klinsmann Smiles

by Deny Gallagher
USMNT Writer

In a game that is all but a formality, the players of the United State Men’s National Team will have one more opportunity to prove that they should be in the starting XI when the knockout round begins.

Know The Enemy: PANAMA

This match will be life or death for Panama, who sits at second in Group A. With a loss the Central American side would be eliminated if either Honduras or Haiti can grab three points. There are a few scenarios in which Panama can advance. Since the U.S. is playing the second game of the night, Los Canaleros will know exactly what they need out of the match from the opening whistle.

Panama very much has control of their own destiny, but the United States should be a tough test for the side.

Panama is one of the better attacking sides in this group with a striker force in Blas Perez and Luis Tejada that lives up to the hype. Tejada was able to score the lone goal in the last game against Honduras. If given the opportunity, these two can finish.

The Red Tide will be without Luis Henriquez who picked up two yellow cards against Honduras. Cautions have been an issue for this side in their first two games, as they have accumulated a tournament leading eight yellow cards.

This match will look much the previous two once things get settled. With a tournament leading 39 fouls conceded, the United States best opportunities may come from set pieces if the offense can’t find its rhythm early.

The American Perspective

Even though the United States is through to the next round, don’t expect them to take their foot off the gas. How could Panama possibly forget the United States scoring two goals in extra time back in 2013 to knock them out of World Cup playoff? (Don’t worry Panama, Graham Zusi is doubtful for this one)

With Jurgen Klinsmann still looking for his best squad to rely on through the knockout rounds, several fringe players will hope to put their best foot forward. A game like this could provide a great opportunity for players like Aron Johannsson, Gyasi Zardes, DeAndre Yedlin, and Kyle Beckerman to lock up a starting spot.

Projected Starting XI

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