Skip to content

What we learned from Tuesday’s U.S. win over Panama

Jun 12, 2013, 12:28 AM EDT

Panama v United States - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Getty Images

The United States is in fabulous shape: Jurgen Klinsmann’s team is top of the group, two points ahead of Mexico, never mind that El Tri has played an extra match. By this time next week, the United States can have one leg and a couple of arms already in Brazil. Because a win over Honduras next week in Salt Lake City will see the Americans with 13 points with four matches remaining – and it probably takes 14 or 15 points to book an automatic spot into Brazil.

The crowd got it right chanting “We’re going to Brazil!” after Tuesday’s second goal.

For the record, this will be the seventh in a row.

Dominant win, you asked for … ?: For everyone somehow not satisfied with last week’s win on the road – and fans, whether they like it or not, should always be satisfied with any win on the road in World Cup qualifying – well, here it was.

Tim Howard had just a few routine catches and one traffic-impaired punch before a stoppage time moment called on him to hurry off his line for a swell save. The United States midfield bossed things all night. This one was quite comfortable.

(One word of contextual warning: All credit to the U.S. midfield, every member of which had a night to remember, but Panama’s midfield is weak. If Tuesday’s visitors arrive into their first World Cup, and they may, it will be on the strength of their center backs and strikers, mostly Blas Perez, who was missing Tuesday.

(MORE: U.S. player ratings vs. Panama)

Klinsmann nailed it with his changes: Needing to find replacements for the suspended Graham Zusi and injured Jermaine Jones, Klinsmann couldn’t have done much better. Eddie Johnson filled in along the right (for Zusi), working the position simply and effectively, picking his spots to take on defenders – letting the game come to him, as they say, rather than trying to do too much. Then, he got the big second half insurance goal in front of the home fans.

And about that goal, what made it was Geoff Cameron’s pinpoint ball over about 40 yards. Cameron was Jones’ replacement, and a bit of an unconventional one. He has played centrally in midfield before, but that was back in his Houston Dynamo days. He was a right back for Stoke City this year. Furthermore … well, just keep reading …

Cameron just booked his spot for Brazil: Assuming good health, and assuming the United States keeps on keeping on, Geoff Cameron will be in the 23 when Klinsmann fills out the roster next May. Are you kidding me? A guy who be effective at three positions: center back, right back and holding mid? (And he could probably play right mid, as well.) Yes. You take that man to a World Cup.

Jozy Altidore makes more money every time he steps on the field now: Cameron was quite good Tuesday. Michael Bradley was Michael Bradley, the brains of the team, always a willing outlet, always wise with the ball. But my Man of the Match was Jozy Altidore.

What a complete game, technical in his touches, diligent in chasing and harassing and clever in his positioning. Altidore has scored in three consecutive matches now – and how far, far, far away does that long goalless drought with the national team seem now? If his huge season at AZ wasn’t enough to draw interest from bigger clubs (and it was) then his summer with the national team will put the cherry on this transfer sundae.

Latest Posts
  1. Adnan Januzaj out injured for Manchester United, Ander Herrera to start up top?

    Aug 28, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT

    Manchester United v Club Brugge - UEFA Champions League: Qualifying Round Play Off First Leg Getty Images

    With Adnan Januzaj out injured, Ander Herrera could see himself playing in a more advanced role against Swansea City.

  2. Done Deals: Everton inks South American duo, Sunderland signs Toivonen

    Aug 28, 2015, 8:40 PM EDT

    FBL-ARGENTINA-RIVER-BANFIELD Getty Images

    Find out what moves have been completed as the transfer deadline approaches.

  3. Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:48 PM EDT

    Everton v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Getty Images

    Spurs are still looking for their first win of the season, but face a tough test when Everton travels to White Hart Lane.

  4. Donald Trump denies report linking him with purchase of Argentinian soccer club

    Aug 28, 2015, 6:53 PM EDT

    Donald Trump AP

    I guess the Donald is a bit too busy to be buying a soccer club right now…

  5. Friday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: West Brom agrees for Evans, De Guzman to Bournemouth

    Aug 28, 2015, 5:57 PM EDT

    Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League Getty Images

    Catch up on all the latest gossip from around the Premier League, right here.

  6. Wolfsburg sporting director: “De Bruyne is off to Manchester City”

    Aug 28, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptewzmi3mzvjnwu1odkzodm5nwzlowe4otg1nwe2odyy AP

    The deal is expected to be official within the next 24 hours as Manchester City’s offer was too good to refuse.

  7. Report: Manchester United planning massive $112 million bid for Arjen Robben

    Aug 28, 2015, 4:05 PM EDT

    Arjen Robben AP

    With the close of the transfer window quickly approaching, could Louis van Gaal be on the verge of the summer’s biggest signing?

  8. Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:05 PM EDT

    Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Premier League Getty Images

    Chelsea clinched the title last season with a win against Crystal Palace, and the Blues will be looking for a similar result on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

  9. Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Home advantage for heavyweights – Week 4

    Aug 28, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League Getty Images

    PST’s Editor and Lead Writer predicts the scores for every PL game this weekend.

  10. WATCH: NBC Sports’ Premier League TV schedule – Week 4

    Aug 28, 2015, 1:20 PM EDT

    PremierLeagueNBC

    Where and how to watch every single PL game this weekend.

  11. Premier League Preview: Newcastle United vs. Arsenal

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:40 PM EDT

    Arsenal v Liverpool - Premier League Getty Images

    Can the Gunners kick-start their season at St James? Watch live, NBCSN, Saturday 7:45 a.m. ET.

  12. MLS preview: Earthquakes vs. Galaxy, Sounders vs. Timbers headline Rivalry Week

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Steven Gerrard, LA Galaxy Steven Gerrard, LA Galaxy

    Rivalry Week is upon us once again, and if it lives up to the last edition, we’re going to be in for a mighty good time.

  13. VIDEO: LA Galaxy superstar Steven Gerrard is a huge Taylor Swift fan

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:12 AM EDT

    New York City FC v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

    Liverpool and England legend seems to be enjoying life in LA. Check out his video of Swifty.

  14. Europa League draw: Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur get tough test in group stage

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:42 AM EDT

    Premier League teams will rack up plenty of air miles this season in Europa League action.

  15. Kevin de Bruyne deal moves closer after “astonishing” offer to join Manchester City

    Aug 28, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT

    In this Nov. 27, 2014 photo Wolfsburg's Kevin De Bruyne plays the ball during the Europa League Group H soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and Everton FC at the Volkswagen Arena stadium in Wolfsburg, Germany. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) AP

    Wolfsburg admit to talks over KDB, as City’s offer of wages blow Bundesliga side out of the water.

  16. CONCACAF aims for 50-50 crowd split for USA vs. Mexico clash at Rose Bowl

    Aug 28, 2015, 9:04 AM EDT

    Carlos Salcedo, Jordan Morris AP

    Segregation of U.S. and Mexico fans key for CONCACAF for huge showdown in Pasadena.

  17. Help for Harry: Tottenham Hotspur sign $30 million forward Heung-Min Son

    Aug 28, 2015, 8:20 AM EDT

    Bayer 04 Leverkusen v SC Freiburg - Bundesliga Getty Images

    South Korean international becomes Spurs’ third most-expensive signing in club history.

  18. Arsene Wenger concedes Arsenal “maybe not firing on all cylinders” yet

    Aug 27, 2015, 10:01 PM EDT

    Arsene Wenger, Arsenal FC Getty Images

    Why yes, Mr. Wenger, one would have to agree with that assessment. In particular, it’s the finishing that’s killing them, he says.

  19. 2016 Copa America Centenario will be played, but CONCACAF might not be involved

    Aug 27, 2015, 9:13 PM EDT

    Copa America trophy — 2015 Copa America Copa America trophy — 2015 Copa America

    Next summers tournament will go on, but CONCACAF might not participate, which means the Copa needs a new host nation.

  20. Men in Blazers podcast: An afternoon spent inside the mind of Jose Mourinho

    Aug 27, 2015, 7:37 PM EDT

    meninblazers

    Rog talks with Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho about his coaching philosophy, post-match press conferences and football in America.

Featured video

Premier League, Week 3 review