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USMNT drop six goals in romp over Panama


The U.S. Men’s National Team went into Monday’s friendly against Panama with one clear mandate from head coach Gregg Berhalter.

The USMNT needed to score some goals.

The Americans responded to their goal-less outing against Wales last Thursday by delivering six goals in a 6-2 romp over Concacaf rival Panama on Monday in a friendly in Austria.

Nicholas Gioacchini scored a pair of first-half goals, Sebastian Soto notched a pair of late goals, while Gio Reyna provided a goal and assist for the USMNT, which overcame an early deficit to post a comfortable victory.

Berhalter deployed the third-youngest lineup in USMNT history, and that young squad got off to a slow start, surrendering a ninth-minute goal by Jose Fajardo to give Panama an early lead.

The Americans responded quickly and repeatedly, rattling off three goals in eight minutes, sparked by a Reyna free kick goal in the 18th minute, and followed up by Gioacchini’s two goals, which came just four minutes apart.

Panama threatened in the second half, after the USMNT endured a sluggish start to the second 45 minutes, and it was Fajardo again, scoring his second in the 79th minute to make things interesting, if only briefly.

Richie Ledezma enjoyed a dream debut, delivering a pair of assists, setting up both goals by Soto, his former U.S. Under-20 teammate. The first assist came in the 84th minute, with the second providing the final goal of the match.


  1. Overall good. I’m not gushing yet. Remember Wales from a couple days ago? (Lletget false nine yadda yadda yadda) It shouldn’t take this group to be poked with a stick before stepping on the gas. 1-0 and 2-3 against this Panama team? CONCACAF’s top teams won’t be this easy and not having a killer instinct can have dire results.

    • I think people’s expectations for a group that averaged 22 y/o, has pretty much NEVER played together and only had 4 days of training total for 2 games, are pretty ridiculous and over the top! There were a ton of positives from this group and over time this group will gel even more because the talent is there!

  2. General comments:
    I had in my head 3-1 as a score didn’t realize that was going to be in each half.
    Love guys that complain about Tim Ream’s lack of speed but call for CCV to replace. (I don’t need to see Tim Ream more though either)
    What was with Soto’s lack of excitement with scoring goals? Was he just trying to be a good sport or is he out?
    Dest on left Cannon on right. Dest loses little to any skill on the left Cannon better at combining and the best defender of the three.

    • I also noted Stoto’s lack of excitement when he scored and was thinking about it. Perhaps he was looking at it as something he expects himself to do, so there was no reason for him to get excited. Hopefully this was a sign of confidence and expectation of excellence on his part.

    • Re Soto’s muted goal celebrations…. didn’t seem off course from anything anybody else did (Reyna barely seemed to notice scoring his first USMNT goal). Fajardo, on the other hand, seemed to physically experience the rapture after his opener.

    • Immediately both of our fullbacks are superior crossers to Yedlin. You’d think all those years starting at Newcastle he would have improved his crossing ability.

      • The fantastic news with our outside backs is for the first time in my memory we have legit options and depth on both sides. Yedlin was a sure starter not that long ago and is still at prime age of his career. He is now 3rd choice RB. We also have Richards who can play in that position.
        The LB situation may be dependent on who we are facing. If we are facing a much stronger opposition I personally would go for Dest at LB with Cannon at RB. Dest is much stronger in possession than Robinson and could help relieve the pressure we will be under.
        Against weaker/even opposition perhaps the overlapping runs of Robinson would be better suited to provide width in the attack and allow Pulisic to tuck inside. Dest would slide over to RB.

    • With the high line they deploy- distribution out the back, I am afraid CCV and Walker Zimmerman as a poor fit. They’re simply not that kind of defender and would get torched I am afraid. Richards definitely fits the mold… was surprised he wasn’t given more opportunity. I was hoping he’d get the start vs Panama- at the very least an entire half. Of the up and comers in MLS- McKenzie has the attributes needed in Berhalter’s system.

      • agree with Dest on either side, d cover for his foraging is key, WM and TA looked like they really got that yesterday. Re. the high line, GB continues to evolve it, much simpler yesterday than some of the Pep stuff he was trying before. he’s got the players, he set them up to let them play, get after it and attack both on D and O, attack mentality at all times. that little double v 4 3 3 pressure…2-1-2-1 if you like up top. At home from the opening whistle, on the road tactically implemented, my opinion something like that. Great to just see that hunger and desire to get after it in those tactics, it was cool to watch. Next…we’ll see

  3. 6 goals with the pups. Adams and McKennie dominated midfield, technically tactically physically. it is fun to watch and Musah fits right in whatever he decides. playing with a true 9 made a difference for everyone too, stretched lines and gaps. Re. Ream, he’s the same player we’ve seen forever. Re. tactics in this game defensively, very tough to judge with this group in this 10 day window of games seems to me, instead it was more about the mentality to attack today and imposing their will with, as Mat said above, an incredibly skilled group of young players, and they did that well collectively

  4. All three players featured in the photo came up through MLS academies. I can’t believe so many still bash the league and seemingly wish for its failure. We wouldn’t be here today without MLS

    • I don’t think anyone “wish the league (MLS) to fail”….but I think most fans believe that our best players are in Europe and that there are very few MLS players who are capable of winning a roster spot with the USMNT over their counterparts abroad.
      Outside of Keeper, if everyone is healthy, there are maybe 2-4 players able to compete for a roster spot.

  5. Without a doubt, no other team in USMT history has possessed such young raw talent, ever. We’re talking currently legit good Champions League team caliber players (Puli, Adams, Reyna, Brooks, Desr etc) and technically gifted up and coming guys in numbers we’re rarely seen. I’ve followed the team since the late 80s (yeah I’m not so young haha) and I’ve never seen one squad where so many guys have this type of skills and technical comfort. Sure we had Reyna, Landon, Dempsey etc… but those squads always had a bunch of players with really sub par technical skills and relied on a mix of athleticism, hard work, and 3-4 guys with strong individual skills to win. In this current team of young guns, it seems like anyone on the field can come up with that crazy game changing play and that we can actually play possession and control game tempo. Of course there is still an strong international learning curve and we need to test the kids vs top teams, but there is a fearlessness and a hunger about them which is nice to see.

    • The talent is there….Gregg just needs to use it going forwards. Give this young talent a chance to gain experience and build chemistry and they’ll get the job done. This group reminds me a lot of the 2002 team…under stated and possibly flying under the radar.
      CB – Brooks, Miazga, Richards, EPB, CCV, M. Robinson, Otasowie
      Backs – Dest, Robinson, Cannon, Yedlin/
      CDM – Adams, Cardozo, McKennie, Otasowie
      CMs – McKennie, Musah, Ledezma, Green, Lletget, Aaronson, Pomykal
      Wingers – Pulisic, Reyna, Uli, Weah, Boyd/Konrad/Morris
      CF – Sargent, Morris, Soto/Gioacchini, Jozy/ArJo/Zardes
      Only positions that I’d say we’re thin at is GK (was hoping to see Horvath today) and Outside back….but even at these positions there are options out there.

    • 2002 you could make a case had as much talent but certainly not young talent. Donovan was 20 and Beas was 19, the next youngest guy was 24. 1/3 of the roster was 30 or older and 12 out of 23 were playing in their 2nd or 3rd WC. Tim Ream has the most caps on today’s roster with 41, that would have been 12th in the 2002 roster. Those who think Tim Ream is too slow have forgotten Jeff Agoos circa 2002. If he doesn’t injure his calf and we switch formations I don’t think we beat Mexico.

      • With all due respect to the 2002 team, the raw technical talent on our current squad is simply on another scale.
        We’ve got guys starting at Chelsea, Juventus, Barcelona, Dortmund. These are elite clubs of the world of soccer.
        Puli is already better than Landon ever was in terms of talent and skill let’s be honest. Dest is way superior to Beasley already in terms of overall skill, etc…
        Now just because we have all these young phenoms and skill doesn’t mean this team will achieve anything in world tournaments. You need something more than just pure talent. Soccer history is full of examples when disciplined hungry never say die teams have shocked the world, but it is nice, for the first time ever in USMNT history to have this potential with guys who compete vs best teams in the world every week.
        It is an exciting time to follow US soccer, but we need some patience because there will be disappointments and growing pains. But in the end with this talent, and if the key guys stay healthy we can achieve something special.
        On the topic of 2002 team, it’s also my opinion that we weren’t so good as people like to remember. We were extremely lucky to escape goal diff and got another stroke of luck with the round of 16 being vs a familiar regional foe. The game vs Germany we were unlucky and it was our best perf of the tourney.

      • Mat, with all due respect CP is not ahead of Landon, at least not internationally, and the problem with USMNT fans is this need to put young players on this pedestal that they haven’t earned yet! Yes, CP is at Chelsea, but until he can stay healthy and scores big goals for the USMNT this idea that he’s better is just talk! Technically he’s better but I don’t know if he’s a better playmaker or clinical at this phase in his career!

    • Ronniet not total career wise at this point but 2002 LD was the same age as Pulisic today. LD had 7 NT goals CP had 14. LD was in MLS averaging 7g a year, CP is in the EPL with 9g. I think it’s pretty easy to judge CP as better at this age.

  6. – What is particularly noteworthy is that it appears of all the players brought, all except DeLa Fuente are ready to play at this level
    – I am curious to see how Miazga fares under Kompany at Anderlecht. Solid but room for improvement. Let’s see what he brings this summer
    – Cardoso was a mystery before these friendliest, but he belongs in the pool, I doubt he passes Adams, but depth at that position is crucial
    – The fact that Mush started both games is Berhalter signaling that he has a future with the US team.

    • A potential midfield 3 of Adams, Mckennie and Musah is the most exciting part of this team for me. All are technically secure and extremely athletic.
      In addition to the defensive qualities Weston’s movement in/around the box has great potential to unbalance defenses.
      One still worries about if we will get a striker to step up in time for qualifying and who will the CB combo be?
      Brooks looked good this time, but has had an up and down history with the US. Miazga, Long, etc aren’t standout defenders right now. Chris Richards has a very high ceiling, but he could probably use a Bundesliga loan move to get top level minutes.

  7. The team that played u20 tournament of Soto Ledesma Mendez Weah Dest richards llanez is the future of the U.S. team add in the best of pullisic Adams Reyna in a 4 4 2 and this is a very talented competitive us team with Soto up top with a second forward right behind him. Gioncchini was good on the finish. Enough with this false 9 thing we barely have a 9 but Soto has lots of potential in the position. The fact that berhalter is just seeing what I saw one year ago is concerning for him as a coach.

    • How are you settling up this 4-4-2, McKennie is wide midfielder? Pulisic as a midfielder too? You’re going to take your best player from Chelsea and play him out of position and your guy from Juventus and force him out of position for what end exactly? Couldn’t you just take the formation we used today and trade Pulisic for Llanez that would seem to make far more sense.

    • 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 based on tonight’s lineup sub Pulisic…


  8. From UniMas soccer commentator Luis Omar Tapia, re: Weston McKennie. “This guy is the future of the team, the de facto leader of the USMNT, and from what I saw against Wales, and from what I have seen of him at Juventus, not only is he the natural leader of this team, his also the future captain of the USMNT!”

  9. I suppose one shouldn’t be disappointed with a 6-2 win, but this is a game we should have won handily. When we play a good team, I have several concerns. The way that Berhalter has the team play, we seem very vulnerable to counter attacks and this will be a real problem when we play a good team. While on paper it’s a 4 man back line, when you look at the actual play, the US ends up with a 3 man back line that has a lot of gaps that can be exploited on the counter. While I think Miazga may be okay in a closed game, when it gets open and stretched, he seems to have real limitations. According to the announcer John Strong, Berhalter seemed to pick Ream because of his past service and Strong made it sound like a sentimental pick. While Ream does pass well, it’s ridiculous to count on him going forward and ridiculous for Berhalter to give him a start. If you want to be a successful coach, you can’t be sentimental. The good news is that we finally got some shots off and looked good in the box. Sometimes the players get a little too fancy, but overall, on offense we look very good. Panama did much better in the second half, but that was to be expected after we got the first half lead. Both young forwards looked good. Soto’s second goal was especially impressive.

    • @GARY PAGE, I cannot be agree more with your assessments. The good news is when John Brooks is healthy, we won’t have to see Ream. Having said that, Berhalter has gotta start developing Chris Richards to partner with Brooks, or be the first to play in Brooks’ left CB position in spite Richards is a right CB. Football is a game of individual, as well as team speed in competitions. A 33-year-old slow-footed Tim Ream is not gonna cut it at international levels. As a matter of fact, Fulham manager Scott Parker has not started/played Tim Ream in left CB during the past few Premier League games.

  10. I thought the group was good today, taking into consideration that it was Panama…I think Panama resorting to its usual tricks was also a good experience since that part of the play can get forgotten by the Euro players….overall, I think playing with the false 9 for so long vs wales was a wasted opportunity. It would have been nice to see what Gioacchini (or even Soto) could have done with more time….Wales was better than Panama but they were not world beaters….

  11. I was impressed with a lot of the combination play, and the way they were able to find that final pass that was missing the other day. Granted, the opponent had a lot to do with it. Cannon and Dest look like the outside backs going forward. Watching Dest and Reyna combine was fun to watch. Weah and Cannon were able to do the same late in the second half.

    Downsides, Ream/Miazga pairing was not good. First goal they were caught sleeping (though Cannon should have closed down the outside). Also, the way the team overall was flat at the start of both halves was concerning. Perhaps this was youth as they turned it on, but it is something that needs to be addressed.

      • I would rather have Dest on the right than Cannon, but who starts on the left? As of right now, this looks like the best option to me.

      • Totally agreed with OldNSlow & DC Josh! Currently after the Wales & Panama friendlies, the FB pairings of Dest and Cannon looked defensively, as well as offensively, better than the Dest and Robinson combo in my opinion.

    • Dest and Cannon for now. Robinson covers a lot of ground, but his crosses are hit more miss, and he loses the ball too easily whether it’s playing for the US or Fulham.

    • I think Dest is the best at right back by a long shot. Robinson and Cannon are fairly even at RB/LB so the solution is play Robinson at LB and Dest at his best position, right back. On the first goal from Panama, Cannon didn’t put pressure on the ball and both center backs expected that to take place. That being said, both center backs could have done better. John Brooks would have and Carter-Vickers would have.

      • @ALFRED L RANDALL, Respectfully, I would only half agree with your hypothetical statement that “John Brooks would have and Carter-Vickers??? would have done better” Both Brooks & Carter-Vickers were not in the game today, so it’s safe & easy to say that they would have done better because nobody has a crystal ball in his hands to prove that statement. John Brooks has been a consistent, arguably our best CB to date, USMNT performer most often than not. Carter-Vickers, I’m sorry, is a long stretch and probably an infatuation of yours. When was the last time, Cameron Carter-Vickers started for the senior USMNT, let alone a convincing performance? BTW, Cameron Carter-Vickers has yet to be featured in a Championship game for AFC Bournemouth despite manager Jason Tindall praised Carter-Vickers for his hard work in practices.

      • Robinson had a shit game against Wales. Cannon is a much better player right now. Robinson is a turnover machine that is crosses as erratically as he plays defense. He’s basically a Yedlin, a glorified outside midfielder, that can’t cross (although IMO Robinson is better at crossing than Yedlin) but on the left side. Our best unit is clearly Dest and Cannon.

    • Regarding Robinson, I’ve see him play several times this year with
      Fulham. He looked much better than he did vs. Wales. Wales without Bale is not as good as teams in the EPL. I think Robinson often looked unsure of himself in the Wales game, like he wasn’t sure where he should go, where he should position himself, etc. It is possible that his poor play vs. Wales was a function of his lack of familiarity with Berhalter’s system and approach and his lack of familiarity with his teammates. In short, I wouldn’t give up on him yet, especially since he has been starting regularly with Fulham.

      • At no point is anyone saying give up.on Antonee Robinson, people can see the upside and talent but it just needs to be harnessed and he more consistent on the pitch. I think what people, and myself are pointing out is Cannon is just more consistent right now, and we saw that tonight! If Dest can play LB for Barca, he can damn well play LB for the USMNT and play it well. As USMNT fans we have to stop hoping that certain players fail and get behind whomever graces the field. I visit other websites and you would not believe the things that get said about MLS players and former MLS players….its utterly ridiculiys and just hate speech tbh

  12. This group looks solid and the subs seemed just as good. When you add in Pulisic, Morris, Pomykal, Zimmerman, Long, McKenzie, Aaronson etc. there will be plenty of choices for GB. Also plenty of fodder for second-guessing any starting line GB choses.

    • I mostly agree with you. Where I take exception is including Long & Zimmerman in the conversation. They like Ream need to be shelved.
      Ream is slow and is good for 1 major passing mistake per game.
      Long has been horrid for NYRB….and doesn’t provide that pass out of the back aspect Gregg is going for.
      I guess Zimmerman is a long shot option, but I still have him behind CCV, EPB, McKenzie & M. Robinson.
      Gregg needs to realize that it’s past time to move away from the older generation (Ream, Bradley, & Jozy) and give the talented youth the field time.

    • You had me until you mentioned Zimmerman. I guess you have a short memory how bad his distribution was against Mexico. Too bad Richards got token minutes.

      • My points are that there appear to be a large number of difficult decisions to be made by GB and that those will be second-guessed by fans (no matter what they are).

    • hey Dennis, I hear you but on second guessing, it depends seems to me as some coaches are given endless rope, others the shortest leash

    • Agree that there are going to be some hard decisions over the next couple years, and almost everyone has their favorites.
      However, there are also some players that clearly don’t fit the direction this team is heading and/or have failed to perform after multiple opportunities. For the most part these are the players people are gripping about. ESPN has an Update of there 30 for 2022 (If the WC started tomorrow)…and they included Bradley @ 21. Not sure how you see it, but IMO he doesn’t fit the way this team should play anymore. He’s too old, too slow, and his skills are degrading. They have Arriola (recently returned from Injury) at 26…and Uli @ 29. Again personal opinion, but I think most would prefer Uli.

      • I just don’t see it. I’d give if we had qualifiers next week maybe you’d invite him as vet who can help see out a game, but his athleticism continues to deteriorate and qualifying will be at the end of another long MLS season. I don’t see any logical way Bradley is in Qatar. Perhaps he retires and takes Josh Wolf’s spot on the bench.

    • Example please Beachbum? Berhalter has had one year at the helm, in which several of his best players were injured and then basically a lost year to pandemic.

      • hey Johnnyrazor, you misinterpreted my post. I’m not going after GB. Remember fans with Bradley, and compare that to JK…good examples those two

    • Got ya I thought you were trying to compare Bradley to Berhalter. Of course if you believe the tale that Klinsmann was to be fired but Dan Flynn has a heart attack and so there was no one to negotiate the severance the timeline probably isn’t drastically different.


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