USMNT - Panama: team news, injuries, possible starting XIs | CONCACAF World Cup qualifying
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter is likely to ring the changes after the draw in Mexico with Gio Reyna coming in with Shaq Moore also likely to start.
The USMNT can qualify for the 2022 World Cup when they take on Panama at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando on Match Day 13 of Concacaf qualifying. Gregg Berhalter’s side are currently second in the standings, level on points with Mexico but edging goal difference and the US will ensure their place at the finals in Qatar if they beat Panama and Costa Rica, who are fourth, fail to match that result against El Salvador. Should Los Ticos lose away at the Estadio Cuscatlán, a draw at home will be enough to see the USMNT through automatically as one of the top three. El Salvador and Costa Rica play earlier in the day, so the USMNT will know exactly what is required before kick-off.
USMNT unbeaten in Orlando
The USMNT has a solid record at the home of Orlando City SC, winning four of four while scoring 16 and conceding only one. The last time the sides met on the same stage, the home side beat Panama 4-0 in 2017. The visitors, though, have an eye on at least the inter-confederation play-off place and beat Berhalter’s side 1-0 in World Cup qualifying in Panama City last October.
“I don't think we're presumptuous enough to think that we're going to win this game in a blowout. I don't think that's going to happen. Panama is a good team, well-coached team, physical team and they're going to put up big resistance,” Berhalter told reporters ahead of the game. "They have great service from both the left and right side. And they have really good runs in the penalty box. If you look at the chances they get, it's time and time again a guy crossing from a deeper position to good runners in the box, athletic forwards, and they score a goal.”
The US are missing some key players through injury in Brenden Aaronson, Sergiño Dest, Matt Turner and Weston McKennie and have Timothy Weah and DeAndre Yedlin serving a one-match suspension. The absence of Reggie Cannon after a positive covid-19 test leaves Berhalter a bit short at right back, leading to the call-up of CD Tenerife defender Shaq Moore, who is expected to start ahead of Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Joe Scally.
Gio Reyna back for USMNT
In positive news for Berhalter, Gio Reyna returned to the international fold for the 0-0 draw against Mexico, the Dortmund midfielder not having played for the USMNT since September, while Manchester City stopper Zack Steffen was also back in the starting XI in the Azteca.
Erik Palmer-Brown and Aaron Long’s availability after missing the last international break also hands Berhalter some options off the bench, with rotation likely after a grueling game in Mexico a few days ago. Reyna is likely to replace Weah in the starting line-up with youngsters Luca de la Torre and Jesús Ferreira also pushing for consideration.
USMNT predicted starting line-up vs Panama
Steffen; Moore, Zimmerman, M. Robinson, A. Robinson; De La Torre, Adams, Musah; Pulisic, Ferreira, Reyna.
Panama predicted starting line-up vs USMNT
Mejía; Davis, Andrade, Escobar, Murillo; Godoy, Carrasquilla; Bárcenas, Quintero, Rodríguez; Blackburn.
USMNT vs Panama: live with AS USA
You can follow live-text coverage of the USMNT’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Panama with AS USA. Rodrigo Serrano will be building up to the game at the Estadio Azteca, before talking you through the action.