A job well done: Recapping USMNT’s 1-1 draw in Panama


USA got a very important point in Panama Tuesday night. While the game was very different from Friday’s 6-0 win, the result was just as important. Let’s look at the major talking points from this 1-1 draw in Panama and look forward to the next qualifiers in June.

Lineup change:

Bruce Arena has proved again that he cares not for the medias/fans predicted lineups. Along the back line, the only returners from last match were Villafana and Gonzalez.Villafana was shifted to centerback, and Tim Ream came in at left back and Graham Zusi at right back. This was a drastic change, as was the addition of Jermaine Jones in central midfield. With the injury to Sebastien Lletget, the appropriate choice would seem to be another wing player. However, Bruce arena does not care for what we thinks makes sense. His picks for a crucial game at Panama may have shocked some, but the players on the pitch did well enough to get the point.

Pulisic is the key for success:

This kid is so, so, so, so special! His skill helped create the US’s lone goal of the match. He won a 50/50 ball in the box, turned two defenders inside out, and slotted a perfect ball to a wide open Dempsey who finished the opportunity. Pulisic’s playmaking ability give the US something they haven’t had in quite a while, a playmaking number 10. USMNT now have someone to work through going forward, and have someone who can create something from nothing. With lethal scorers like Altidore and Dempsey in front of him, the US’s attack has found their way to scoring.

Dempsey continues to score:

Dempsey started the night only two goals behind Landon Donavan’s record of 57 international goals. His prowess as a poacher, helped him get within one of LD’s record. His ability to continue to score will be a great asset f or USMNT moving forward.With Pulisic as the playmaker, and Bradley as the orchestrator, it’s great to have a poacher like Dempsey. Getting to the right place at the right time is a learnt skill. It’s one that sill propel Dempsey past Donovan in the next round of World Cup qualifying. Mark that down folks, you heard it here first!

Jermaine Jones looks done:

Jermaine Jones looked very uninspiring in the match, which begs the question why start him in the future? With the US’s current players, and formation choice, it seems like Jones will always be played out of position. Bradley will hold down the D-mid of the diamond midfield, and Pulisic is at the 10, which means Jones has to play wide. This is a bad idea for the national team, and if you’re going to play someone out of position, why not a younger, faster option, in Kellyn Acosta?

Zusi returns to Panama:

Four years ago USA played a World Cup qualifier in Panama. The US had already qualified; Panama needed a win tot get in. Panama was winning, until Zusi struck and buried their. This time around Zusi played a far different role, right back, and did little to impact the match going forward. None the less, the Panamanians have not forgotten about Zusi. Which made him a national topic of conversation leading into the match.

Tim Ream put out the fires:

If you’re like me, you saw Tim Ream’s name in the starting 11, and cringed a bit. There has not been one time where I’ve seen Ream stand out from the crowd. Tuesday night he did that and then some. He was putting out fires in crucial moments in a ridiculously tough atmosphere. Ream made a case for man of the match in Panama, and is one of the sole reason’s The US came away with a point.

Tim Howard is the #1 keeper:

Tim Howard made some crucial, amazing saves, to secure a point in a hostile environment. He has shown that he is the number one keeper for the US. Brad Guzan seems to be out of favor, and no other keeper is taking the reigns away from Timmy at this point. I think we will see a lot from Howard in the World Cup qualifiers, while seeing other keepers in friendlies and the Gold Cup this summer. There’s a reason Howard’s nick-name is the secretary of defense, see why below!

USA’s next qualifiers are in June. They play against Trinidad and Tobago, and go to Mexico. They get the bottom and top of the Hex. Trinidad and Tobago sit last now, and Mexico continue to lead the group. If the US do well, they’ll be Pershing Mexico; if US do poorly, they’ll be near Trinidad and Tobago. Until June, peace out USMNT fans!

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports