Christian Polisic leads USA to Panama on the eve of the World Cup

The United States men’s soccer team is not in the World Cup, not yet. Still have to make one last trip, one last job, one last game ৷

However, it will be difficult for a team to stop Americans from going to Qatar now. And it will be almost impossible to convince them, or anyone else – in the end – that they will not return to the bright stage of football.

This is the biggest news since the 5-1 win over Panama in Orlando, Fla. On Sunday night. They scored more than four goals in the first half against the defeated Panamanians. Bigger than Christian Police’s hat-trick and resting footing, bigger than the padding they added to their goal difference, which made Wednesday’s trip to Costa Rica much less terrifying.

What’s left to do? The Americans set out for Costa Rica knowing they would not have to win to qualify for the World Cup. Avoiding just one heavy defeat – six goals or more – will ensure Americans finish with one of the automatic qualifying places from their region, North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Canada qualified for the first team from the region on Sunday with a 4-0 home win over Jamaica, with only Mexico and Costa Rica in contention for the other two. (Panama was eliminated with his defeat on Sunday night.)

The United States has a much better goal difference than both Mexico and Costa Rica, and the fact that it was tied for automatic places after Wednesday’s final game had its own kind of comfort in Sunday’s route. This effectively means that a historic defeat for the Americans in Costa Rica will also bring a lifeline: the play-offs for the last breath in Qatar against the Oceania champions in June.

That back door after a performance in Orlando was the least of the concerns for everyone as it ranked as the best of the seven-month American qualifiers.

“We want to go there and win the game,” said United coach Greg Barhalter. “As I said in the first two games: we prepare to win each game.”

The excitement that the Americans took in Sunday’s game – a mixture of injury, illness and suspension that melted away with the protracted resentment from the failed qualifying race in 2017 – vanished into the shock of the early goal.

The policeman, a veteran of that last campaign, who ended up crying with him on a dirty field in Trinidad, converted a penalty kick in the 17th minute. Six minutes later, Paul Auriola’s header gave the lead two, and four minutes later it was 3-0 at the surprise starter Jesus Ferreira’s slotted finish.

Police made it 4-0 in stoppage time in the first half, converting it into a second penalty, and he completed his first national team hat-trick effortlessly – for him – in the 65th minute. Crossing with silky control in Panama’s penalty area, he turned in traffic and scored his third goal by slotting two defenders.

“Christian is a man who has been through this before,” Barhalter later said, and anyone who has lived through 2017 knows what he meant. The policeman wore the captain’s armband on Sunday and played like leader Barhalter when the Americans wanted to close the deal on Wednesday.

His only mistake against Panama, it seems, was an awkward attempt to breakdance after his second penalty kick and a yellow card for arguing shortly before Barhalter subdued him. Other key players were also soon dropped, with the Americans resting on tired legs that gave Mexico a tie and a big win in the space of four days and still one game left.

A big round difference – Americans will now help plus-13, compared to Costa Rica’s plus-3.

Defender Walker Zimmermann said of the one-sided win, “We knew we had to get out on the front foot and that goal set the tone for the whole match early on.” “These goals add up and they are huge for us.”

But a late consolation goal from Panama defender Annibal Godoy, who was guilty of conceding both penalties in the first half, served as a reminder of how things could still go wrong if Zimmerman and his teammates were not careful.

In 2017, the Americans defeated Panama in their final game in Orlando. All teams will then have to travel to Trinidad and Tobago, which has already been eliminated and to avoid losses.

Instead, the United States made all the mistakes, losing 2-1 because other results in the region went against them. Within two stunning hours they have definitely and tragically walked out of the World Cup. The gap was narrower then, but the lesson is stuck with the current team, most of whom – with the notable exception of the police – were not part of the squad then.

“The goal is clearly to qualify for the World Cup and it’s another step in the right direction,” said midfielder Tyler Adams. “But at the end of the day, we have one more game left. We haven’t cleaned up yet. “

This is a message he must repeat in the next three days, until the job is done, until the ticket is punched, until the United States finally, until the World Cup officially returns.

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