US rout Panama, edge closer to Russian Federation 2018

Thankfully, that potentially nerve-shredding encounter looks unlikely to eventuate, after the United States men's national team rediscovered its mojo to demolish Panama 4-0 and move up to third place in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying ladder.

With a win, the United States will qualify for their eighth consecutive World Cup.

The duo have a long-standing coaching camaraderie, with Bradley having served as Arena's assistant at the University of Virginia from 1983 to 1984, with the U.S. Under-23 national team at the 1996 Olympics and at D.C. United from 1996 to 1997.

Mexico already clinched, while Costa Rica is on the verge.

In Europe, three teams have already ensured their place in the competition through qualifying, which excludes hosts Russian Federation being the fourth nation. Eastern. Heading into the match, Panama sits in third in the hex with 10 points, while the US is in fourth with nine points.

"It's a roster we've selected that we believe will give us success in these next two games". 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.

The key, captain Michael Bradley said, would be found in movement, especially among the three lead men-Altidore, Christian Pulisic and Bobby Wood-in a bold five-man attack. On Sunday, Pulisic was the subject of a "60 Minutes" special, in which Arena said that Pulisic had the potential to become "the first American superstar in the sport".

Pulisic, who also plays for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, has six goals and four assists in 13 games for club and country in 2017.

As goalkeeper Jaime Penedo came off his line, Pulisic used the outside of his right foot again to tap the ball wide and jumped over Penedo's outstretched arm. The results, however, had been uneven. And if the US excels in Russia, Pulisic will be why, too.

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By the eighth minute, Arena's change had proved to be a shrewd one.

Pulisic had a goal and an assist before being subbed off for his protection in the 56th minute, including the go-ahead goal in the eighth minute, which set the tone for the beat-down the USA put on Panama.

"Every time I've been on this team, whenever our backs are against the wall we always find a way to perform", said Jozy Altidore, whose two goals tied him as the team's all-time leading goalscorer in World Cup Qualifying with Clint Dempsey.

How good can Pulisic end up being? "He's 19, and we're building our team around him". The emotional release in the stadium seemed a recognition of the moment--when a player of extraordinary promise fulfills it, at a time when it is most desperately needed. He substituted for Pulisic a few minutes later. We're probably not going to outgun Germany, so who sits if one of those three has to sit? After a quick feint, in which he stepped with his right foot over the ball, he used his left foot, nearly in the same motion, to tap the ball toward the end line.

Wood capped a workmanlike effort alongside Altidore up front by scoring the fourth goal just after the hour mark. Which of Paul Arriola and Darlington Nagbe is more essential to the US gameplan? The setting up of the Altidore goal brought Pulisic's tally during the tournament to four goals and four assists, out of fourteen goals scored up to that point by the USA team. As Pinedo dived to his left, Altidore chipped the ball down the center for his 41st global goal. In the fifty-seventh minute of the match, Arena chose to bring on another player to substitute for Pulisic.

Christian Pulisic burst up the field, scoring with a brilliant touch to complete an 11-second, breakneck, field-length attack just eight minutes in.

The challenge for Arena now is to prepare for Tuesday's game against T&T.

Honduras would need to beat Costa Rica on Saturday and Mexico on Tuesday and make up the 12-goal advantage the U.S. has (plus the margin the US beat T&T).

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