USMNT Responds to Rout Panama in Friendly


The U.S. men's national team wrapped up its November camp by routing Panama, 6-2, in Austria in a friendly on Monday.

The U.S. drew Wales 0-0 on Friday in Swansea before heading south to Wiener Neustadt for the showdown vs. its familiar Concacaf foe, which was Gregg Berhalter's first opponent as U.S. coach. The U.S. won 3-0 on that January 2019 day, and it found similar fortune again in their latest meeting.

After conceding a goal in the eighth minute, the U.S. responded with goals from Gio Reyna and Nicholas Gioacchini to take a 3-1 lead into the second half. Panama pulled one back, with Jose Fajardo scoring his second of the game, but a furious finish sparked by two goals from Sebastian Soto and one from Sebastian Lletget secured the result.

Berhalter opted to keep the same midfield as he had vs. Wales, with Yunus Musah, Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie all starting together. Reyna got the nod again on the wing, with Gioacchini starting at forward after the U.S. operated without a true striker on Friday. In defense, Sergiño Dest flipped to the left side in place of Antonee Robinson, allowing Reggie Cannon to get the start at right back.

Dest, who has played on the left for club and country, looked quite comfortable in the early going, combining with Gioacchini early to draw a free kick in the Panama half.

The U.S. had an early injury scare, when Ulysses Llanez went down holding his right knee five minutes in. Llanez, the scorer of the USA's only goal in 2020 prior to Monday (a penalty kick v. Costa Rica on Feb. 1), banged knees with Armando Cooper and was tended to on the field for a bit before hobbling to the sideline.

Llanez returned after shaking off the injury and very nearly scored. The U.S. worked the ball to Cannon on the right, and his cross found Llanez in the center of the box, only for the Heerenveen forward to put his first-time chance just wide of the mark.

Panama made the U.S. pay for its wastefulness. Fajardo got free for a header and beat Zack Steffen from close range for his first international goal, in the eighth minute, touching home the service from Alejandro Yearwood.

Reyna brought the U.S. level soon after. Musah drew a free kick right at the edge of the Panama box, and Reyna bent a low free kick around the wall and inside the right post to make it 1-1 in the 18th minute for his first senior international goal.

The U.S. went ahead four minutes later, when Gioacchini pounced on a spilled rebound from Llanez's chance and fired home from close range to make it 2-1.

Gioacchini scored his second four minutes after that. Adams played a great through ball to the end line, where McKennie hustled to reach it and cross to the back post. Matt Miazga headed across goal, and Gioacchini met it with a header of his own to give the U.S. 3-1 lead.

The U.S. lacked some discipline early in the second half. McKennie's two-footed, studs-up challenge on Gabriel Torres could have easily been a red card, though he only saw yellow, while Gioacchini saw yellow for a forearm to the head on an aerial duel minutes later.

The U.S. missed a chance to go up 4-1–and Gioacchini missed a chance to complete his hat trick–just after the hour mark, when the Caen striker had a penalty kick saved. Cannon drew the spot kick by forcing a hand ball, but Gioacchini's meager kick was saved by Orlando Mosquera.

Panama continued to push to get back in the game, and it was rewarded for its efforts. Fajardo scored his second of the game, splitting the Miazga-Tim Ream center back tandem and firing by Steffen to make it 3-2 in the 79th minute.

The lead went back to two a few minutes later. A pair of former Real Salt Lake academy products on their debuts combined for the goal off the bench, with Sebastian Soto heading home from Richie Ledezma's cross to make it 4-2.

The lead ballooned to 5-2 four minutes later, with Cannon firing in a cross for Sebastian Lletget at the near post, where he headed in the USA's insurance goal.

Soto and Ledezma combined one more time before the final whistle, making the result even more lopsided. Soto completed his run to the back post, heading down to give the U.S. a 6-2 edge.


Here were the lineups for both teams:


Here are the rosters for both teams:


GOALKEEPERS: Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City), Zack Steffen (Manchester City)

DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht), Tim Ream (Fulham), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich), Antonee Robinson (Fulham)

MIDFIELDERS: Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Richie Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton)

FORWARDS: Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen), Ulysses Llanez (Heerenveen), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Sebastian Soto (Telstar), Tim Weah (Lille)


GOALKEEPERS: Marcos Allen (Atletico Sanluqueño), Luis Mejia (Nacional), Orlando Mosquera (Boluspor) 

DEFENDERS: Andres Andrade (LASK), Cesar Blackman (Dunajska Streda), Harold Cummings (Union Española), Eric Davis (Dunajska Streda), Fidel Escobar (Alcorcon), Oscar Linton (Sliema Wanderers), Michael Murillo (Anderlecht), Alejandro Yearwood (Arabe Unido) 

MIDFIELDERS: Edgar Barcenas (Girona), Omar Browne (CAI La Chorrera), Adalberto Carrasquilla (Cartagena), Armando Cooper (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Anibal Godoy (Nashville SC), Victor Griffith (Santos de Guapiles), Irving Gudiño (Marbella), Jose Luis Rodriguez (Lugo), Juan Tejada (Tampa Bay Rowdies) 

FORWARDS: Jorman Aguilar (San Carlos), Jose Fajardo (CAI La Chorrera), Eduardo Guerrero (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Gabriel Torres (Independiente del Valle)