USMNT faces off against Panama looking to qualify for the knockout stages of the Copa America

ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 27: during the World Cup Qualifier soccer match between the US MNT and Panama on March 27, 2022 at Explorer Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire)

The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) will be going up against Panama, looking to continue their undefeated play in the Copa América. The Americans faced off against Bolivia last Sunday, defeating the CONMEBOL side by a score of 2-0. A third-minute Christian Pulisic goal along with a 44th-minute Folarin Balogun goal was all that the USMNT needed to hold on for the win.

The USMNT will be able to qualify for the knockout stages on Thursday, but they need to get the three points against Panama, along with Uruguay either getting three points or Uruguay-Bolivia ending in a draw. The match will be taking place on Thursday, June 27th at 6:00 PM EST in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta United’s stadium was the host for the opening match of the tournament, where players from both Argentina and Canada were critical of the field.

United States Players Celebrate on the podium after a win over Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League final soccer match, March 24, 2024 in Arlington Texas (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

A Look into Panama

Panama is the 43rd-ranked team in the FIFA Men’s World Ranking, being third lowest in Group C, only above Bolivia. They are led by Spanish manager Thomas Christiansen, who took over as manager in July of 2020. In the 62 matches that he has been in charge of Panama, Christiansen has a record of 31 wins, 14 draws, and 17 losses.

Panama is currently coming off a 3-1 loss against Uruguay, where they had their chances to get in the match, but were not able to take them. The better side did win in the match, but Panama’s performance should not be something that is overlooked.

United States forward Gio Reyna celebrates after a win over Mexico durring a CONCACAF Nations League Final soccer match, March 24, 2024 in Arlington Texas (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The Panama roster 

Goalkeepers – Luis Mejía (Club Nacional), César Samudio (CD Marathón), Orlando Mosquera (Maccabi Tel Aviv)

Defenders – César Blackman (Slovan Bratislava), José Córdoba (Norwich City), Eduardo Anderson (Deportivo Saprissa), Eric Davis (FC Kosice), Omar Valencia (NY Red Bulls), Iván Anderson (Fortaleza CEIF), Michael Murillo (Marseille), Edgardo Fariña (CSD Municipal), Roderick Miller (Turan-Tovuz IK)

MidfieldersAbdiel Ayarza (Cienciano), Cristian Martínez (Al Jandal), José Luis Rodriguez (Famalicão), Adalberto Carrasquilla (Houston Dynamo), Edgar Bárcenas (Mazatlán FC), Freddy Góndola (Maccabi Bnei Reineh), Jovani Welch (Académico Viseu FC), Carlos Harvey (Minnesota United), César Yanis (AD San Carlos), Kaiser Lenis (Jaguares de Cerdoba) 

Attackers – Eduardo Guerrero (Zorya Lugansk), Ismael Díaz (CD Universidad Católica), José Fajarado (CD Universidad Católica)

USMNT, Paris 2024
ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 21: A detailed view of the United States Soccer Federation crest logo is seen in the player and team tunnel in game action during an International friendly match between the United States and the Ecuador men’s national teams on March 21, 2019 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Matchup History

When facing off against each other, the USMNT has dominated the overall series, holding a record of 17 wins, 2 losses, and 7 draws against the side. But in their most recent encounter, Panama was the one who was victorious, defeating the USMNT in a penalty kick shootout that got them to the Gold Cup Final. Panama ended up losing that match by a score of 1-0 to CONCACAF rivals Mexico. The USMNT will be hoping to get revenge for that loss, as they look to possibly qualify for the knockout stages of the Copa America tonight.

KANSAS CITY, KS – JULY 15: United States midfielder Gianluca Busio (6) looks on as United States forward Daryl Dike (11) celebrates with fans and teammates after scoring a goal in action during a CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B match between Martinique and the United States on July 15, 2021 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, KS. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Key to the Game: Be Prepared for Anything 

In a recent press conference with the media, manager Gregg Berhalter stated that the USMNT will be prepared for anything that Panama throws at his squad, narrowing in on the physical aspect of the match. Berhalter said:

“We don’t shy away from physicality. We like that in matches, and that’s never a problem for us. For us, it’s just about embracing whatever a particular match brings, and if it’s physicality, we’ll be fine, we’ll be able to deal with that.”

Berhalter talking so much about the possible physicality of the match makes it seem like he knows that’s what Panama is going to bring to the table. The USMNT knows they are a tough opponent, as they lost to their fellow CONCACAF side in the Gold Cup semifinals. Gregg Berhalter said that his squad will be prepared for what is thrown at them, and if they want the three points tonight, that is extremely important. Panama had a decent performance against Uruguay despite losing 3-1, so Berhalter will not want his squad to be caught off guard at any point.

USMNT world cup
KANSAS CITY, KS – JUNE 05: United States forward Christian Pulisic (10) reacts to a corner kick during the match between the USMNT and Uruguay on Sunday June 5th, 2022 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, KS. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire)

Lineup Predictions

In their latest match against Bolivia, Gregg Berhalter ran with his usual 4-3-3 formation, and it ended up with his squad taking home a 2-0 win. I do not see Berhalter changing the formation up tonight, and honestly do not really see him changing up anything at all in regards to the players.

Berhalter will want to run with his usual strong squad, as a possible chance to qualify for the knockout stages is on the table. Yes, the USMNT faces off against Uruguay on Monday, but if Berhalter has the opportunity to make that match, it will not mean much in regards to qualifying, I can’t see why he would not take that offer. With all that being said, this is how I see the USMNT lining up for tonight’s match against Panama: 

GK: Matt Turner
RB: Joe Scally, CB: Chris Richards, CB: Tim Ream, LB: Antonee Robinson
RCM: Weston McKennie, LCM: Tyler Adams
CAM: Gio Reyna
RW: Tim Weah, ST: Folarin Balogun, LW: Christian Pulisic 

United States’ Brenden Aaronson, center, fights for the ball with Trinidad and Tobago’s Shannon Gomez, right, and Real Gill, left, during a CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal soccer match in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Azlan Mohammed)

Score Prediction

The USMNT will be looking to do their part in qualifying for the knockout stages tonight, and for that, they need to get three points. While the performance against Bolivia was not the best performance, the group was still able to get a 2-0 win and dominate their opponent on the pitch. Berhalter will be hoping his squad will be able to do the same tonight, and that is what I am expecting to happen. The USMNT will get a similar result to the match against Bolivia, and pull out a 3-0 win.

PARADISE, NV – AUGUST 01: United States midfielder Sebastian Lletget (17) lifts the trophy to celebrate after winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021 final match between Mexico and United States at Allegiant Stadium on August 1, 2021 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

USMNT vs Panama Betting Odds

United States Moneyline: -300
Panama Moneyline: +800
Draw: +420

CINCINNATI, OH – NOVEMBER 12: United States midfielder Weston McKennie (8) talks to forward Christian Pulisic (10) during a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying game between the United States and Mexico on November 12, 2021 at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

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Featured Image Credit: Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire