Bruce Arena (pictured) has guided the USA to a pair of World Cups. (Photo: Mexsport)
ORLANDO, Florida – United States head coach Bruce Arena is confident his team will do what is needed to secure a berth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"When I took the job last November, if you said to me 'you’d be in position in game nine to play a game at home that you had to win, would you take that?’ I would say ‘Yes’,” Arena said.
The Americans (2W-3D-3L, 9 points) enter the last two matchdays of CONCACAF qualifying for Russia occupying fourth in the Hexagonal table. They will host third-place Panama (2W-4D-2L, 10) on Friday, before concluding with a visit to last-place Trinidad & Tobago (1-0-7, 3) on October 10.
“In 2017, we’ve had one blip in the Costa Rica game," commented Arena. "All the other results went along as we expected, and maybe even an extra point in Mexico. I think if it comes down to where we need four or six points in our last two games, I think that’s fine and we’ll get it done.”
The last four meetings in all competitions between the U.S. and Panama have ended in 1-1 draws, including their last WCQ encounter on March 28, 2017, in Panama City.
“The bottom line is that we need to go out on the field and play well, be aggressive to start and get the first goal,” Arena concluded.
Prior to their quartet of consecutive draws recently, the U.S. had defeated Panama six straight times.