USMNT Falls 1-0 at Panama in Second World Cup Qualifying Match of October WindowPanama’s 54th-Minute Goal Ends USA’s Undefeated Start to the Octagonal; Second-Place USMNT Returns to Action on Wednesday, Oct. 13 vs. Costa Rica in Columbus, Ohio
PANAMA CITY, Panama (Oct. 10, 2021) - The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 1-0 to Panama in its second of three World Cup qualifying matches over seven days during the October international window. After threatening all evening on corner kicks, Los Canaleros’ captain Anibal Godoy nodded in a corner kick service in the 54th to spoil the USA’s four-game undefeated streak start to the Octagonal and snap a 13-game overall unbeaten streak, the third-longest in team history.
With tonight’s result, the USA is now second place in the Octagonal standings with eight points after playing three of its first five matches on the road. The USMNT finishes its trio of October World Cup qualifying matches on Wednesday, Oct. 13 vs. Costa Rica in Columbus, Ohio (ESPN2, ESPN+, UniMas, TUDN).
U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter made seven changes to the U.S. lineup that faced Jamaica on Thursday night as the Americans squared off with a highly motivated Panama side looking to rebound from its first WCQ loss during the first match date of the window.
Both teams had trouble finding their rhythm in the first half on a soggy field at Estadio Rommel Fernández. While the U.S. had the game’s first real chance when a Walker Zimmerman header was tipped over the bar by Panama goalkeeper Luis Meija in the third minute, Panama had the better of opportunities through the opening 45, threatening on a number of corner kicks and dangerous crosses into the penalty box. In the 14th minute, Panama forward Rolando Blackburn slipped behind the defense but wasn’t able to connect with a nice ball played through the six-yard box and a U.S. miscue on a throw-in led to another solid opportunity for Panama in the 18th.
U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner was forced to make an acrobatic save in the 28th on a Panama corner and was called into action again at the end of the first half, leaping to push away a driven shot by Edgar Barcenas from 18 yards out.
Needing a spark, Berhalter made two substitutions at the break, bringing on forward Brenden Aaronson and midfielder Tyler Adams. The pair helped get the U.S. attack moving with a bit more energy, but Panama opened the scoring nine minutes into the second half to the delight of the home crowd. The goal was a breakthrough of sorts after Panama had several close calls on corner kicks. On the goal, defender Eric Davis served a ball for Godoy at the near post and his header on frame deflected off U.S. forward Gyasi Zardes, who was trying to clear, and flew into the back of the net for the game’s lone goal.
Berhalter made his final three substitutes in the 68th minute with forward Ricardo Pepi, midfielder Cristian Roldan and defender DeAndre Yedlin entering the match. The fresh legs made an impact as Pepi had a dangerous shot just moments after coming on, but the U.S. was unable to create quality scoring chances over the 90 minutes and despite seven minutes of stoppage time, an equalizer down the stretch went wanting.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
PAN - Anibal Godoy (Eric Davis), 54th minute: Davis lined up for Panama’s seventh corner of the evening and sent in a service to the near post. Godoy rose above the U.S. defense to get his head on the ball and his shot deflected off forward Gyasi Zardes and bounced to the far back corner of the net for what proved to be the difference maker. PAN 1, USA 0
The USMNT is now 16-2-6 all-time against Panama and 6-1-2 in World Cup qualifiers.
Midfielder Kellyn Acosta extended his consecutive games played streak to 19 matches, dating back to the 6-0 win against El Salvador on Dec. 9, 2020. Acosta’s run of games is the most by a USMNT player since Landon Donovan played 35-straight matches from 2001-2003.
Matt Turner is the only U.S. player to play every minute of World Cup qualifying so far as he made his 11th consecutive USMNT appearance, the most by a USA goalkeeper since Brad Guzan played 12 consecutive matches from June 5-October 10, 2015. The record for consecutive matches by a USMNT goalkeeper is held by Tony Meola, who played 15-straight games from Dec. 19, 1990-Sept. 4, 1991.
Turner now has a 9-1-2 record in his 12 USMNT appearances, keeping clean sheets in eight matches while conceding only four goals.
After making their World Cup Qualifying debuts on Thursday against Jamaica, defender Shaq Moore and forward Tim Weah earned their first World Cup qualifying starts.
With Yunus Musah (18) and George Bello (19) in the line-up, two teenagers started for the USMNT for a third-straight match. Bello and Ricardo Pepi (18) began the game on Sept. 8 in Honduras while Musah and Pepi started on Thursday against Jamaica.
Tonight’s match was the 40th of head coach Gregg Berhalter’s tenure. The team is 28-7-5 since Berhalter took over in January 2019.
-U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report-
Match: United States Men’s National Team vs. Panama
Date: October 10, 2021
Competition: Concacaf 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying
Venue: Estadio Rommel Fernández Gutiérrez; Panama City, Panama
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. local
Weather: 81 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
PAN 0 1 1
PAN -- Anibal Godoy (Eric Davis) 54th minute
USA: 1-Matt Turner, 5-Shaq Moore (22-DeAndre Yedlin, 68), 18-Mark McKenzie, 3-Walker Zimmerman (Capt.), 21-George Bello, 6-Yunus Musah (4-Tyler Adams, 46), 23-Kellyn Acosta, 17-Sebastian Lletget, 7-Paul Arriola (11-Brenden Aaronson, 46), 9-Gyasi Zardes (16-Ricardo Pepi, 67), 20-Tim Weah (10-Cristian Roldan, 68)
Substitutes not used: 13-Sean Johnson, 2-Sergiño Dest, 8-Gianluca Busio, 12-Miles Robinson, 14-Luca de la Torre, 15-Chris Richards, 19-Matthew Hoppe
Head coach: Gregg Berhalter
PAN: 1-Luis Mejia, 23-Michael Murillo, 4-Fidel Escobar, 3-Harold Cummings, 15-Eric Davis, 8-Cristian Martinez (5-Abdiel Ayarza, 88), 20-Anibal Godoy (Capt.) (11-Armando Cooper, 69), 10-Edgar Barcenas, 19-Alberto Quintero (21-Cesar Yanis, 89), 17-Freddy Gondola, 14-Rolando Blackburn (6-Eduardo Guerreo, 69)
Substitutes not used: 12-Jose Calderon, 2-Cesar Blackman 18-Ismael Diaz, 9-Gabriel Torres, 13-Jiovany Ramos, 16-Alfredo Stephens, 7-Jose Luis Rodriguez, 22-Orlando Mosquera
Head coach: Thomas Christansen
Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots: 5 / 8
Shots on Goal: 0 / 4
Saves: 3 / 0
Corner Kicks: 6 / 7
Fouls: 10 / 12
Offside: 2 / 1
PAN – Alfredo Stephens (Caution) 77th minute
Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Alberto Morin (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Hernandez (MEX)
4th Official: Adonai Escobedo (MEX)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Tyler Adams