Altidore scores two
U.S. leads 3-0 at half
Pulisic goal, assist
U.S. moves third
Heads to T&T for Tues. finale
Christian Pulisic and Jozy Altidore spearheaded the United States men’s national team to an emphatic 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Panama at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Friday.
Altidore scored twice, Pulisic had a goal and an assist, and Bobby Wood also scored in the win.
The win moves the U.S. to the precipice of qualifying for Russia. A win at Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday will clinch it, and a draw could do the trick depending on the Honduras-Costa Rica result on Saturday (The match was postponed due to weather).
My Spanish isn't amazing (at all) but I'm pretty sure the Panama coach just said the "they could have had 10 goals."
— Sam Borden (@SamBorden) October 7, 2017
Christian Pulisic, to no one’s surprise, supplied the first true threat with a dynamic dribble and pass to set up Jozy Altidore for a shot blocked inside the 18.
Bobby Wood was the next to tempt an opener, firing just wide from a Jozy Altidore pass.
Panama, however, engineered a big scare when Blas Perez worked Omar Gonzalez before ripping a shot wide.
Fortunately, that’s when Pulisic settled the nerves with an eighth minute goal, dancing onto a Altidore pass and playing Jaime Penedo like a fiddle before sliding a goal home from an acute angle. Wood started the play, and it was 1-0.
Pulisic, Marry me.
— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) October 6, 2017
[ MORE: U-17 World Cup Day 1 roundup ]
Pulisic then earned a corner. Anibal Godoy bloodied Matt Besler with an elbow before the attempt. When it was served, Altidore hit a shot off the outside of the goal.
Then, Altidore and 2-0. It came, no surprise, off the boot of a Pulisic cross from the left. It was a sensational pass that swept around the backs and onto Altidore’s back post boot.
Paul Arriola cued Bobby Wood up for a long run on goal that was ended when Penedo stopped the Hamburg man’s shot.
Matt Besler was caught twice in a five-minute span, the second requiring an two handed save from Tim Howard.
Altidore should’ve made it 3-0 on the business end of a well-worked rush, but had his head down and didn’t see Penedo racing out to thwart his shot.
Wood then won — and aided — a penalty when fouled by Armando Cooper. In this giant spot, Altidore had the audacity to chip a panenka past a flying Penedo.
Panama’s second half philosophy was to batter Pulisic, and a distracted U.S. allowed some more chances to Los Canaleros. That includes Tim Howard’s stooping to collect a Roman Torres shot.
Pulisic left the match, healthy, for Dax McCarty, giving the youngster relief and the veteran his first appearance in a World Cup qualifier.
Arriola then threatened Penedo with a low shot in the 59th minute. Then Panama allowed Wood to dance through its defense and rip a shot that sailed wide in the 62nd minute.
Wood made it 4-0 in the 63rd minute, turning a quick pass from Arriola and clinically finishing past Penedo.
.@BobbyS_Wood makin' �� moves.
Absolute pandemonium in Orlando! pic.twitter.com/huKGvQh0EK
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) October 7, 2017
Penedo stopped Arriola after a delightful pass from McCarty — and a fortuitous trip from a Panama center back.