Unless you’re a true veteran of U.S. Soccer fandom, the scenario the United States men’s national team finds themselves in right now in World Cup qualifying if completely foreign to you. I never thought we’d get to this point, but there we are, needing two wins in the final two matches to guarantee ourselves a spot in next summer’s big dance in Russia.
The first big hurdle the U.S. must clear is Panama, a team that’s given them fits in past Gold Cups and is generally a tough team to play against. There will be no room for mistakes or excuses as anything less than a win makes the last guaranteed qualifying spot a very difficult goal to reach.
Bruce Arena has called in most of his reliable players with the controversial exception of Fabian Johnson. Benny Feilhaber and Juan Agudelo are the two interesting additions to the group, both of whom have seen little or no action during this CONCACAF Hexagonal. There are whispers of a possible switch to a three-back formation. Will we see something new? Bruce played something similar in the 2002 World Cup. With DeAndre Yedlin’s return, it could be a chance to play him as a natural wingback.
This uncertain circumstance will make for some nervous supporters around the country, but should make for some exhilarating soccer. All the talking is finally over. It’s time to get down to business.
United States Lineup:
How to Watch
Kickoff Time: 7:35 p.m. ET, 4:35 p.m. PT
Available TV: ESPN2, Univision, Univision Deportes
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