More entertainment than expected in Panama
USA make the trip to Panama in World Cup qualification on Sunday looking to close the gap between themselves and Mexico at the top of the group. The top three in the group of eight automatically qualify while fourth place goes into the play-offs. Currently in third is Canada with Panama fourth in their quest to qualify for back to back World Cups. USA failed to make the 2018 tournament and will be doubly determined to ensure no such disappointment takes place this time around.
Both nations are in action on Friday evening and therefore there may be some rotation and or fatigue present in the line-ups. In terms of individual quality there is no doubt that USA come in as rightful odds on favourites. John Brooks, Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna are high profile absentees but the depth is there to still have a successful international break and kick on towards sealing their spot in Qatar.
RB Salzburg’s Brendan Aaronson will be a key man in the trio’s absence and has scored in the nation’s last two fixtures. Particularly in attacking areas there are still some outstanding talents on the roster. Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie of RB Leipzig and Juventus could form a mean central midfield partnership for years to come and the likes of Gyasi Zardes and Matthew Hoppe provide excellent attacking options for this level of competition.
The goal line is pretty low with the bookmakers expecting Panama to stifle the US however if the deadlock is broken early this one could be very interesting if the hosts need to come out of their shell.
- Panama have scored in seven of ten.
- Panama have conceded in six of ten.
- Panama have seen both teams score in five of ten.
- Panama have seen over 2.5 goals in seven of ten.
- USA have scored in eight of ten.
- USA have conceded in three of ten.
- USA have seen both teams score in three of ten.
- USA have seen over 2.5 goals in three of ten.
This is a fresh looking USA without the negative memories of the last campaign and they can put them firmly behind them with a resounding win here. The absence of Pulisic and Reyna gives some exciting fringe players the chance to stake a claim.