Welcome to your live thread for the United States Women's National Team against Panama in Group A play in the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship (5 p.m., FS1 and UDN). The USWNT can take another step toward World Cup qualifying with a win, as Panama is currently second in the group after a 3-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday.
Eight teams are chasing three direct berths into the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, with the winner tonight being in the driver’s seat to a spot in the knockout round.
The U.S. has only played Panama once previously, beating the Central American nation, 9-0 back in 2002. Tiffeny Milbrett scored five goals for the USWNT in that match. This is only Panama’s third appearance in the Concacaf Women’s Championship and the visitors will be facing a USWNT side that is 33-1-1 all-time in the Concacaf Championship, 12-0-2 in 2018, and 19-0-3 since the 2017 Tournament of Nations.
Panama has won twice in this event, with both wins coming against Trinidad & Tobago (2002, 2018). Argentine Víctor Suárez coaches Panama, which has won three of its last four matches overall. However, 17-year-old goalkeeper Yenith Bailey may find the likes of Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Tobin Heath harder to handle than T&T, against which she made seven saves on Thursday.
Marta Cox, Kenia Rangel, and Erika Hernandez provided the goals for Panama against T&T three days ago but I don’t expect the Panamanians to be able to put up that kind of offense against the U.S.
The United States should be able to dispatch Panama much like it did with Mexico on Thursday. The key will likely be the same as usual — withstand the early energy of the opponents and grind them down over the course of 90 minutes of relentless play.
I’ll repeat what I said in the preview for the Mexico game: This is a game the United States should win handily, although it may take until the second half to wear down the visitors. Then again, you never know what might happen when the ball is kicked.
Defenders (7): 7-Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage; 24/0), 19-Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage; 70/23), 20-Hailie Mace (UCLA; 2/0), 5-Kelly O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 109/2), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 144/0), 14-Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 25/0), 2-Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 22/0).
Midfielders (5): 6-Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 79/6), 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 67/17); 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 57/6), 16-Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 14/3), 3-Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 38/7).
Forwards (6): 17-Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns; 139/22), 10-Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 260/102), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 148/92), 12-Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 104/45), 11-Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 38/12), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 141/40).
Goalkeepers (2): 1-Yenith Bailey, 12-Farissa Córdoba.
Defenders (8): 13-Onelys Alvarado, 16-Sheyla Díaz, 15-Rebeca Espinosa, 2-Hilary Jaen, 20-María Montenegro, 3-María Murillo, 14-Maryorie Pérez, 5-Yomira Pinzón.
Midfielders (5): 8-Laurie Batista, 4-Katherine Castillo, 10-Marta Cox, 6-Aldrith Quintero, 7-Kenia Rangel.
Forwards (5): 17-Anuvis Angulo, 19-Lineth Cedeño, 18-Erika Hernández, 11-Natalia Mills, 9-Karla Riley.
REF: Tatiana Guzman (Nicaragua).
AR1: Princess Brown (Jamaica).
AR2: Chantel Boudreau (Canada).
4th: Odette Hamilton (Jamaica).
How to Watch
Match Time: 5 p.m. (ET).
Venue: WakeMed Soccer Park — Cary, NC.
TV: FS1, UDN.
Streaming: FOX Sports GO.
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go America!