USA vs Panama – International Friendly
Venue: StubHub Center – Sunday, February 8 – 9:00PM GMT (4:00PM ET)
Match Odds: USA 4/7 – Draw 11/4 – Panama 5/1
Jurgen Klinsmann tried a 3-5-2 system in that game but there was a lot to work on in terms of the formation and it will be interesting to see if he is bold enough to start with that against Panama on Sunday.
Late goals continue to haunt the USA and they conceded twice in the final 25 minutes against Chile to lose the match, despite leading 2-1 at halftime. They have taken the lead in four of their last five but have not won in any of those matches.
Fitness is a valid excuse at this stage of the year with Major League Soccer players only just returning to action, and 20 of the 23 players in the squad play in MLS now so they are yet to reach full match fitness.
Klinsmann has hinted that the 3-5-2 system will be used again by saying: “Definitely, we want to keep developing it, because we want to use it when the moment is there and maybe we have the players for it. And therefore, it’s a card to keep working on.”
A friendly means substitutions can help things though and Klinsmann will expect to see his side get back to winning ways against a Panama side that is set to play their first game of 2015.
The CONCACAF side are 28 places lower than the USA in the FIFA World Rankings but will be looking to kickstart 2015 in the same form as they ended last year as they only lost one of their last seven in 2014.
USA vs Panama head-to-head record: Played 14 – USA 11 – Draws 2 – Panama 1
Three MLS players have been called up to the squad for the game against the USMNT as LA Galaxy’s Jaime Penedo, FC Dallas striker Blas Perez and Colorado Rapids forward Gabriel Torres will all expect to feature.
If he starts, Penedo will be playing in a familiar environment as LA Galaxy’s StubHub Center will host the game.
Another Galaxy player hoping to feature will be Gyasi Zardes and the young striker will hope to start after looking sharp when coming off the bench against Chile last week.
USA’s last five: D/D/L/L/L
Panama’s last five: W/W/L/W/D
Key Stat: Panama have only beaten the USA once in 14 previous meetings – a 2-1 win in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2011.
Key Player: Gyasi Zardes – The LA Galaxy striker showed promise on his debut against Chile and will be pushing for a start. Expect him to make a difference if he is given the time.
Score Prediction: USA 3–1 Panama – The USMNT to get back to winning ways with an improved performance back on home soil.