Player Ratings: U.S. 4, Panama 0

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US logoThe United States is one step closer to reaching the World Cup. After a convincing win against Panama, the U.S. is only one win away from a trip to Russia. An exceptional game by Christian Pulisic and Jozy Altidore saw the United States’ offense flourish while the heroics of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler in the back helped maintain a shutout.

Goalkeeper

Tim Howard did not have much to do. He was only challenged twice and made each save. It was an overall relaxing night for him.  Grade: B

Defenders

DeAndre Yedlin‘s return was strong. His pace and proper defensive positioning shut down every attack on his side of the field. Grade: B+

Omar Gonzalez won every aerial duel. Grade: B+

Matt Besler started the game with a cut to his upper eye. After the injury, he returned to the field and played well. Grade: B+

Jorge Villafaña seemed nonexistent but that isn’t a bad thing. The lack of an opposing attack made Villafaña’s night simple. Grade: B

Midfielders

Michael Bradley played his typical box-to-box role. He offered supportive defense and played superb balls. It was pure soccer, nothing fancy or over the top. Grade: B

Darlington Nagbe had a quiet night. His presence in the attack was unnecessary because of his teammates’ impressive goal tally and the lack of opposing offense did not require him to offer his defensive services. Grade: B

Christian Pulisic is no joke. He scored the first goal of the game within the first eight minutes and assisted on Altidore’s first of two. His confidence and eagerness to take on defenders led to multiple attacking opportunities. Grade: A+ 

Paul Arriola’s pace is extraordinary. The minute he had space to run with the ball his side was rewarded with a quick counter-attack. He had a few chances on goal but was unable to convert. Grade: B

Forwards

Bobby Wood did all of his country’s dirty work. Constant high pressure and energy left the opposition’s defense frustrated. After multiple missed goal opportunities, he was able to get one of his own in the 63rd minute. Grade: A

Jozy Altidore had a superb game. His ability to check to passes and flick them on helped ignite counter attacks and earn himself an assist. His positive play was rewarded with two goals. Grade: A+

Substitutes

Dax McCarty checked in early in the second half. He brought a calm presence to a wild game. Grade: B-

Clint Dempsey entered the game to the applause and chants of fans. Sadly, he is still left chasing his record-breaking goal. Grade: B-

Alejandro Bedoya did not have enough time to make an impact. Grade: N/A

Coach

Bruce Arena got it right against Panama. The powerful attack of Pulisic, Altidore and Wood were exceptional and the defense made zero costly mistakes. Grade: A