Three Big Storylines:
- Panama is on 10 points and the United States is on 9 points heading into the last two games of CONCACAF’s final round of World Cup Qualifying (The Hex). With a win the USMNT would be in third place, the top three CONCACAF teams qualify for Russia and the fourth place team enters a playoff in November against the winner of a playoff happening now between Australia and Syria. A win for the USA would leave them with a good chance of qualifying on Tuesday as they play at already eliminated Trinidad and Tobago to finish the group play. Panama host Costa Rica on Tuesday. Costa Rica are on 15 points and are all but already qualified with little to play for in the last two games. Panama will want revenge for what they view as an injustice that happened in 2013. In the last game of the Hex to qualify for Brazil 2014 the USMNT was already qualified and had their ticket to Brazil. Panama could have qualified with a home win and they were leading the USA 2-1 late until Graham Zusi scored in the 92nd minute to knock Panama out of the World Cup and put Mexico in. To add insult to injury Aron Jóhannsson added a 93rd minute winner as Panama was still reeling from the tying goal a minute earlier and the game ended Panama 2-3 USA.
- The USMNT did not play well in the last set of World Cup qualifiers losing at home to Costa Rica and getting a draw in Honduras. One big addition to this roster will be the return of DeAndre Yedlin at right back. The Seattle Sounders academy product has been playing well for Newcastle in the Premier League after returning from a hamstring injury. While Yedlin will surely start on the right side of the defense, the question is will it be a traditional four man backline or will Yedlin be asked to play more as a wingback with a three man backline? Playing with three at the back is something the USMNT has tinkered with under Bruce Arena and it does fit the personnel particularly well.
- Two players from the Seattle Sounders could be in for major accomplishments on Friday. Clint Dempsey is tied with Landon Donovan as the all time leading goal scorer in USMNT history with 57 goals. Roman Torres will anchor Panama’s defense partnering with Felipe Baloy in the center of Panama’s backline. With a win Panama would qualify for the World Cup for the first time in their history.
From a Sounders Point of View:
Seven Seattle Sounders players are in action across the globe during this FIFA window.
Nicolas Lodeiro - Unused Substitute in Uruguay’s 0-0 draw at Venezuela on Thursday. Uruguay host Bolivia on Tuesday and will qualify with a draw or win.
Gustav Svensson - Sweden host Luxembourg on Saturday. Sweden are one point behind France and three points ahead of the Netherlands in UEFA’s Group A. The top team in each group makes the World Cup while eight of the nine second place teams across the nine UEFA qualifying groups enter a playoff for four spots. Sweden travel to Netherlands on Tuesday while France travel to Bulgaria on Saturday and host Belarus on Tuesday for the last games of the group stage. Netherlands are at Belarus on Saturday.
Nouhou - Cameroon host Algeria on Saturday. Cameroon has been eliminated from World Cup contention, Nouhou has yet to be capped by Cameroon but has been called in both of the last two FIFA windows.
Clint Dempsey - USMNT vs Panama.
Joevin Jones - Trinidad and Tobago play in Mexico on Friday. Trinidad and Tobago have been eliminated from World Cup contention.
Roman Torres - Panama play the USA in Orlando on Friday with their final match hosting Costa Rica on Tuesday.
Oniel Fisher - Jamaica play Saudi Arabia at King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in a friendly. Jamaica did not make the final round of CONCACAF qualifying and have been eliminated from World Cup contention.
US starting XI vs. Panama: Howard; Yedlin, Gonzalez, Besler, Villafaña; Arriola, Bradley, Nagbe, Pulisic; Wood, Altidore #usmnt— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) October 6, 2017
National TV Listings:
Date/Time: Friday, 4:00 PM (kickoff is scheduled for 4:35 PM)
Location: Orlando City Stadium - Orlando, Florida
TV: ESPN2, Univision, Univision Deportes
Streaming: Watch ESPN and Univision Deportes
Ian Darke will call the game alongside analyst Taylor Twellman. Sideline reporters will be Julie Stewart-Binks (covering USA) and Sebastian Salazar (Panama).
Max Bretos hosts and former Sounders Kasey Keller and Herculez Gomez will be analysts on site for pre-game, halftime and post-game shows.
In addition ESPN3 will dedicate two channels to stream two separate camera angles of the match: Tactical Cam – a wide-angle view of the teams’ formations and positioning; and ISO Cam – an isolation camera focused solely on key U.S. Men’s National Team players.
Mexico v Trinidad and Tobago
Date/Time: Friday, 6:30 PM
Location: Estadio Alfonso Lastras - San Luis Potosi, Mexico
TV: Fox Sports 1
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Costa Rica v Honduras (Note: This game has been moved from Friday to Saturday due to Hurricane Nate)
Date/Time: Saturday, 2:30 PM
Location: Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica - San Jose, Costa Rica
Streaming: Telemundo Deportes App
This is your Sounder at Heart USMNT versus Panama World Cup Qualifying gamethread. Watch with us.