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US Pockets a Point in Panama
April 30 2017, 06:45 | Van Peters
The United States Men's National Team would have to wait further to quality for the soccer World Cup. Under the leadership of the new-old coach, the Americans held three matches, never missing in them: Serbia 0-0, Jamaica 1-0 and finally the game of selection with Honduras 6-0. And everything, aside from injuries and a few sloppy moments, went just right. The win against Honduras was euphoric and cathartic, but probably raised the expectations for Panama a bit too much: it felt like the US would go into Panama City and house the home side. We win our home games and don't take another point, we're on 13. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
The team bottomed out in November 2016 during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying final round, in which the six teams left in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football battle for a berth in the tournament. "It's going to take some to piece the team together". Panama are third with five points. The top three teams at the end of this stage reach the World Cup. The problem? Aside from a handful of games, they have played well below the sum of their parts. "We have to get a point". We bounce around piecemeal and have things to say about Curt Onalfo, poor Minnesota United, and Syamsir Alam even makes an appearance.
Pulisic turned in a dazzling performance in Friday's 6-0 demolition of Honduras, delivering a goal and two assists.
Let's be clear here, this isn't a shot at Jurgen Klinsmann.
Arena, though, declined to contrast his methods to Klinsmann's and whether his approach has drastically improved the situation. "It's what I love to do, and hopefully there's some more time left". "I think we can build off this". "Next time around it will be better for him".
"Christian will probably learn the most from this game because he's incredibly talented, and when you play against top, top defenders in Europe, they recognize the talent and they defend properly", Howard said.
Now the team is in better shape for booking a ticket to Russian Federation, injured players will soon return to health, and some talented young players could make their way onto the field.
Playing down the team mood, he added, "We're just functioning as normal people".
Pulisic acknowledged that it was tough at times to play in his dynamic style considering the way he was being manhandled.
Christian Pulisic gained some valuable experience on Tuesday night: he had a target on his back in a road Hexagonal match.
Which players are going to matter most in the remaining games? "'This [expletive] doesn't know what he's doing'". "Pretty stupid, if you ask me", Arena said humorously. Through all that, they managed to come away with a point.
"It becomes contagious in the group". "You heard people crying".
"I thought in the second half we did a little bit better. He just overpowered me", Howard said.
"We had lost our way in some ways", he said. "The guys have responded in a really good way". They've got to be in it. They want to be successful. Is that a recipe for success? This was a solid week's work with a group short of several key players.
Arena, however, recognizes that his team has taken only a single step in its recovery.
Tim Howard long ago cut out the waffle when it comes to analysis and didn't pull any verbal punches late Tuesday night.
PANAMA CITY (AP) Omar Gonzalez looked relieved as he spoke in the tunnel underneath Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
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Bedoya, who came on much later than his appearance on Friday, finished the match with a 77% passing completion rate, while also made two successful clearances.