USMNT struggling in 1-0 loss to Panama with Ricardo Pepi out of starting lineup
PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) – Kellyn Acosta left with his head bandaged, Matt Turner juggled several balls that were thrown in the last few minutes, when security twice kicked fans out of the field.
On a wet night in Central America, the United States withered from the opening whistle and lost to Panama for the first time in a World Cup qualifier, a 1- loss. 0 Sunday evening.
“We’re going to come back to that and be frustrated,” Turner said. “Physically, the intensity was not there. They got a huge boost from their local audience and we haven’t matched or surpassed that. “
Positioned at the near post, Aníbal Godoy led Eric Davis’ corner in the 54th minute ahead of Turner, the ball slightly deflecting Gyasi Zardes as he headed for the far post.
US coach Gregg Berhalter changed seven starters in Thursday’s 2-0 home win over Jamaica, leaving an already-absent formation Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie to do without Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams during the first half. Additionally, Antonee Robinson remained in the United States due to UK COVID restrictions that allegedly affected him upon his return to the UK.
Zardes, Acosta, Sebastian Lletget, Tim Weah, Shaq Moore, Mark McKenzie and George Bello joined four remnants: Turner, Walker Zimmerman, Yunus Musah and Paul Arriola.
“In the first half it was probably a bit of a lack of energy and competitiveness,” said Adams.
Panama outscored the United States 8-5, including a 4-0 advantage in shots on target, and ended a 13-game unbeaten streak for the Americans that included 11 wins. Quite a turnaround for a nation that has recorded one win and 16 losses in 23 previous games against the United States, including no wins and six losses in eight playoffs.
“Our distances were too far. We didn’t have that pop. We didn’t have the legs we needed, ”said Berhalter. “We were poor. We were really poor with our passage and some of our movements. “
Berhalter took into account the players he wanted to be fresh for Wednesday night’s qualifying game against Costa Rica in Columbus, Ohio, the third game in seven games on a reshuffled schedule due to the pandemic.
“Now that obviously doesn’t seem like the best choice,” Berhalter said. “We know we play in extreme heat, extreme humidity, we know how to travel for 4 and a half hours and we know we have another game on Wednesday and we wanted to spin the players. And if that hasn’t worked, then it’s on me, and it’s my responsibility, or our responsibility as a staff.
Adams and Aaronson came in at the start of the second half, Ricardo Pepi in the 67th and DeAndre Yedlin and Cristian Roldan in the 68th.
In the last eventful minutes, the game was twice interrupted when fans ran onto the pitch. Ball collectors would sometimes throw several balls on the field after one of them went out of bounds.
“I had like two or three,” Turner said. “I was just trying to get them off the pitch as fast as possible. I didn’t want the game to stop anymore. People running across the field – the ball collectors were throwing, sending the balls across the field as high as they could. And I was just trying to keep the chaos off the pitch as much as I could and keep our momentum going. “
The match took place on the fourth anniversary of the 2-1 loss to Trinidad that ended a seven-match World Cup streak for the United States, a loss that saw Panama reach the World Cup for the first time.
The United States is once again on the road to a dilapidated stadium, authorized because FIFA and CONCACAF refuse the responsibility of imposing standards close to those maintained by the main European and American clubs.
During the Panamanian national anthem, fans held up a large banner that read: “Nunca dehe de creer … nunce tre dejare de apoyar (I never stop believing … I will never stop supporting). “
In five of the 14 matches, Mexico leads with 11 points after a 3-0 win over visiting Honduras, and the United States is second with eight, ahead of Panama on goal difference. Canada have seven after a 0-0 draw at Jamaica, and Costa Rica have six after a 2-1 win over El Salvador, which has five. Honduras is behind with three and Jamaica two.
The first three nations advance and the # 4 team advance to the playoffs.
“The good thing,” said Berhalter, “is that we are still in second place.”
Briefly: Mexico scored goals from Sebastián Córdova in the 18th, Rogelio Funes Mori in the 76th and Hirving Lozano in the 90th; Maynor Figueroa of Honduras received a red card in the 50th for a tackle on Raúl Jiménez. … Costa Rica rallied on Bryan Ruiz’s goal in the 52nd and Celso Borges’ penalty in the 58th after Jairo Henríquez put the visitors ahead in the 12th.
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