USA’s Christian Pulisic (top) and Jozy Altidore celebrate after scoring against visiting Panama in a World Cup qualifier on October 6, 2017, in Orlando, Florida, USA. (Photo: Mark Thorstenson/isiphotos.com)
ORLANDO, Florida -- Jozy Altidore scored two goals and assisted on another in the first half to boost the United States to a 4-0 victory over Panama in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Orlando City Stadium on Friday night.
Christian Pulisic had a goal and an assist for the Americans (3W-3D-3L, 12 points), who jumped over the Panamanians (2W-4D-2L, 10) into third place in the Hexagonal table.
With the 19-year-old Pulisic masterminding the U.S. attack, the host rolled to a stunning 3-0 halftime advantage.
In the eighth minute, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Goalkeeper Tim Howard ignited the sequence with a long goal kick. The ball eventually went to Altidore, who headed it on to Pulisic. He split the defense and rounded goalkeeper Jaime Penedo on the right side before depositing the ball into an empty net.
Pulisic returned the favor to Altidore in the 19th minute, delivering a left-wing cross for the Toronto FC star to tap in for a 2-0 advantage.
The U.S. went up 3-0 in the 43rd minute after Armando Cooper took down Booby Wood in the box. Altidore took the ensuing penalty, chipping a soft shot into the middle of the net for his 41st international goal.
Wood closed out the scoring with a 12-yard goal in the 63rd minute.
Both sides will complete CONCACAF play on Tuesday as the U.S. will visit Trinidad & Tobago, while Panama hosts Costa Rica.