Can USA make it to Russian Federation?

Can USA make it to Russian Federation?

Can USA make it to Russian Federation?

The U.S. men's soccer team picked up a big 4-0 win over Panama on Friday night in World Cup Qualifying is underway. The three points earned allowed the leapfrog Panama in the CONCACAF standings and leave Bruce Arena's side in prime position to punch its ticket to Russian Federation with Tuesday's match at Trinidad & Tobago.

Christian Pulisic (L) shoots against Keylor Navas of Costa Rica during the Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018 World Cup Qualifier at Red Bull Arena on September 1, 2017 in Harrison, N.J.

The Americans have lost two home games in a World Cup cycle for the first time since 1957, 2-1 to Mexico last November and 2-0 to Costa Rica last month - their first defeat in 16 games since Bruce Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann as coach.

Victory, followed by an away win against Trinidad & Tobago next Tuesday, would guarantee automatic qualification for the Americans and a ticket to Russia.Any other result in Orlando, and the picture becomes complicated, with a fourth-placed finish raising the possibility of a two-leg playoff against either Syria or Australia.

Christian Pulisic scored early to put the USA men's national team ahead early and the Yanks went on to defeat Panama easily in a crucial World Cup qualifier.

It's been a challenge for the USA this time around, but Bruce Arena's team is in control of its own destiny. With 15 points and goal difference 12-5, the Costa Rican team takes 2nd place in the group and is already preparing for the trip to Russian Federation. A disastrous spell at lowly Sunderland that saw him score just one goal in 42 league games, all but destroyed his reputation overseas and he too scuttled back to cash in with MLS.

Wood got in on the fun in the 63rd minute, receiving a pass from about 13 yards out and turning nicely on it before tucking a shot to the bottom far corner.

Picking up the ball on the left wing, Pulisic delivered a superb cross which was gleefully tapped in by Altidore. On Friday, after the team lineups were announced, it became clear that Arena had chose to end his winger experiment with Pulisic and instead start him in the middle of the field, in a playmaker role, just behind the team's two forwards.

Then his cross found Jozy Altidore's right foot like an arrow striking a bull's-eye, leading to a two-goal lead in the 19th minute.

The U.S. and Panama will kick off at 7:35 p.m. this Friday in what could very well be a defining game for the future of soccer in America. If this team makes the World Cup - and that doesn't seem like a big if anymore - Pulisic be why. There were many takeaways fans were able to take from this matchup, but none more important than these three. "We needed a win but the job's not done". Wood turned and fired it past Penedo. Altidore stepped to the spot and finished with a Panenka to give the USA a 3-0 lead and essentially end the contest.

Panama looked shell shocked as the halftime whistle blew, lingering around on the pitch perhaps terrified of the berating they'd take from their coaches in the locker room. It'll also leave Panama with 10 points heading into a much tougher game against Costa Rica.

That opened the door for Pulisic's victor a minute later, and the Americans just rolled from there.

Not that losing the creative hub of the team denied the US their scoring ability. He picks a better option by slowing down and looking inside to get the defense to freeze, then creating space with a quick first step.

The U.S coasted the rest of the way for a vital victory. The Americans could miss the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

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