The US men’s soccer team lost in Panama tonight, 1-0, suffering its first failure in the World Cup qualifiers. The Americans couldn’t resist the hosts, who were better during most of the match, imposing their own style of play and dictating the tempo on the field.
The only scorer was Anibal Godoy, who beat Matt Turner in the 54th minute. Nashville SC player hit the back of the net following a corner, crowning his team’s domination.
Throughout the entire game, Panama was trying to score, pressuring the rivals and not allowing them to feel comfortable. Meanwhile, the Yanks were confused and without any solution on how to respond. Gregg Berhalter’s side didn’t have a single shot on target, which only shows how they really played.
The guests had many problems concerning injured and absent players, plus they had to travel and experience tough weather conditions, which was one of the factors for their poor performance.
On top of everything, the game was very chaotic, as it had to be stopped on several occasions due to pitch invasion or multiple balls on the field. After taking the lead, the hosts used all means to keep it, and often sabotaged the play via various methods.
“People running on the field. The ball boys were throwing, kicking the balls onto the field as high as they could. And I was just trying to keep the chaos off the field as much as I could and keep our momentum going,” goalkeeper Turner said after the game.
During the first half, Turner was the best player on the pitch, stopping several shots of the hosts and s keeping the USA leveled and in the mix for three points. The interventions in the 28th and the 34th minute prevented Panama from taking the lead even earlier. Yet, his teammates weren’t at the same level, which eventually decided the match.
The Americans suffered a first defeat following 13 games, 11 of them ending with a victory.
Gregg Berhalter spoke about Wednesday’s match against Costa Rica at home, emphasizing its importance, and suggesting that he somewhat sacrificed this contest to have his top players healthy and fresh for that game.
The situation in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers is very complicated. The United States are currently second in the standings with 8 points, the same as Panama. Mexico is first with three points more, while Canada sits fourth, having seven points. Costa Rica has six, El Salvador five, Honduras three, and Jamaica one point.
FT: Panama 1-0 USA
First loss of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers for the USMNT 😳 pic.twitter.com/mcH75ippdP
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 11, 2021
A win against the Costa Ricans is imperative for Berhalter’s unit. Three points here are allowing them to be peaceful before the remaining part of the qualifiers. If, however, they don’t win, the situation will become even more complicated, and we might even see Berhalter under severe pressure to leave his post.
In other matches of the night, Canada once again stayed unbeaten on the road, recording a draw in Jamaica, 0-0. After getting out a point in Mexico, John Herdman’s boys played well in Kingston, and now head back home to meet Panama and possibly earn three points that would push them into the zone that leads directly to Qatar.
Mexico was routine against Honduras, winning 3-0 without having some particular problems. Costa Rica is coming to the USA with boosted morale, as they defeated El Salvador 2-1.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.