• Wednesday Oct 04, 2017

    U.S. upbeat ahead of Panama showdown

    The USA (pictured) has competed in every FIFA World Cup from Italy 1990 through Brazil 2014. (Photo: AFP Services)

    ORLANDO, Florida -- By winning its final two games in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, the United States can give itself a tremendous boost in the quest to reach an eighth consecutive FIFA World Cup.

    If the fourth-place Americans (2W-3D-3L, 9 points, GD+1) win their final two qualifiers and fifth-place Honduras (2W-3D-3L, 9, -7) drops a point, they will book passage to Russia 2018.

    If the U.S. doesn't accrue six points in those matches, the path can become complicated.

    “We’re in a position where we want to be,” defender Graham Zusi said. “Our destiny is in our own hands. We control it. You’ve seen this team respond to pressure well. It always seems like we come together at the right time and take care of the job.”

    The fourth-place U.S. (2W-3D-3L, 9 points) hosts third-place Panama (2W-4D-2L, 10) on Friday night.

    The top three teams qualify, while the fourth-place side will face either Australia or Syria in an intercontinental playoff in November. Thus far, from CONCACAF, only Mexico has secured direct advancement.

    “It’s a really simple equation for us,” remarked midfielder Dax McCarty. “We don’t want to get into all these different scenarios of, ‘What if this happens? What do we have to do?’ The main focus for us is Panama. Three points is going to be the only thing that’s acceptable.”

    Goalkeeper Tim Howard, who’s hoping to compete in a third World Cup, is framing the task ahead in experienced perspective.

    "There’s confidence. There’s still urgency, though. We understand what’s at stake,” he concluded. “This is about guys who are battle-tested. And grit. We’re going to have to have a good combination of footballers, guys who can take the ball, but also guys who want to roll up their sleeves and fight in the trenches.”

  • Champions League

    Related News



RELATED NEWS YOU'LL LIKE

Panama kicks off camp for Grenada friendly

A week after earning a berth in next year’s World Cup, Panama opened a minicamp in preparation for an international friendly at Grenada.

Costa Rica int’l Campbell scores on Real Betis return, looks to future

After more than three months on the sidelines due to a knee injury Costa Rica international Joel Campbell returned to action in Real Betis’ loss.

Arena resigns as U.S. head coach

Bruce Arena resigned as United States head coach Friday after the team failed to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup in his second tenure in charge.

Costa Rica’s Ramirez reflects on WCQ

A 2-1 loss Tuesday at Panama on the final matchday of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, couldn’t stop Costa Rica head coach Oscar Ramirez...

Honduras celebrates playoff opportunity

After heading into the last matchday of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying in fifth-place, Honduras was delighted to exit it with a spot in the intercontinental playoff against Australia thanks to Tuesday’s 3-2 win over first-place Mexico