Action from the World Cup qualifier between the visiting USA (white jersey) and Panama on March 28, 2017, in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: John Dorton/isiphotos.com)
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Both goals were scored in the first half as Panama and the visiting United States battled to a 1-1 stalemate in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday.
Both sides maintained the same spots in the six-team table from which they started the evening. The Panamanians (1W-2D-1L, 5 points) are in third place, while the U.S. (1-1-2, 4) is in fourth. Unbeaten Mexico (3-1-0, 10) is in first place, leading Costa Rica (2-1-1) by three points. Honduras (1-1-2, 4) and Trinidad & Tobago (1-0-3, 3) occupy fifth and sixth place, respectively.
At the Estadio Rommel Fernandez, the Americans took a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute, when Christian Pulisic beat Felipe Baloy and Roman Torres in the right side of the penalty area, before slipping a simple square ball to the top of the six-yard box for Clint Dempsey to finish with his right foot. It was Dempsey’s fourth goal in his last two qualifiers after striking for a hat-trick in a 6-0 win over Honduras on Friday.
Four minutes later, however, Panama was on level terms. The U.S. had difficulty dealing with a long throw-in into its box. The ball bounced and Gabriel Gomez pounced, poking a right-footed effort past goalkeeper Tim Howard from five-yards out.
Howard, however, made a big save in the 59th minute by thwarting Luis Tejada at point-blank range.
The U.S. is now 5-2-0 all-time in WCQ play against Panama, which has one win in its five outings in the competition.
Next Up in WCQ…
Panama: June 8, 2017 – away v Costa Rica
USA: June 8, 2017 – home v Trinidad & Tobago