Top Stories

Panama vs. USMNT: SBI Match Day


The U.S. men’s national team heads into Sunday’s Concacaf World Cup qualifier against Panama sitting in first place in the Octagonal, but anything less than a win could cost the Americans that precious position when they take on the Canaleros in Panama City (6 p.m. ET, Paramount+, Universo)

The USMNT is fresh off an impressive 2-0 win against Jamaica, with Ricardo Pepi continuing his hot streak with two more goals, and Gregg Berhalter will be looking to tap into his squad depth to deploy a rested group to face a Panama side that has relied heavily on a veteran nucleus.

Here is the starting lineup the USMNT is deploying against Panama today:

Here is a rundown of SBI’s prematch coverage:

USMNT set to face veteran Panama side

Who should the USMNT start vs. Panama?

The SBI Show: Episode 332 (USMNT-Jamaica recap, Panama-USMNT Preview)

The USMNT-Panama match is airing in English on Paramount+. If you have yet to sign up, you can secure a free one-month trial of Paramount+ by using THIS LINK and including the offer code SBI.

The SBI staff will be checking in with updates and observations throughout the match in the comments section. You are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions as well.

Enjoy the action.


  1. I thought the problems with effort and attitude were behind us. I was wrong. In the very first minutes of the game you could see a definite lack of energy and an acceptance of Panama dictating play. What happened? They should have learned that you have to go after the other team from the first and put them on their heels.

  2. WOW….USMNT??? How do we go from electrifying to flatline in just one game??
    No urgency on the ball
    No winning the 1-on-1s on the Pitch
    No coordination, rhythm or energy
    No focus or confidence on the ball
    No service
    No fight

    …… how??? With the quality we have????? How can this team go from “hero to zero” so quickly. where is the consistency, hunger and drive (especially from the subs)???

    • he actually put out the pressing unit, they were too fast for that, you should not have picked tactics based on what worked at home against the worst team in the ocho. left side of the defense was poor and shouldn’t be back. forward choices were regressive. subs during the second half were ridiculous. a lot of that suggested he still has too much 2019 in him….zardes, arriola, roldan, yedlin.

      far as i am concerned that strategy, implosion, and response was a little too close to couva for comfort. i kinda thought we’d be making different mistakes by now than fielding stalemate units, suffering own goals, and not enough bench ammo to come back. and the big difference is we have piles of pool talent where this shouldn’t happen.

    • and as i said below i swear we hired the man to bring in some sort of a skill approach and not to begin the game with a press unit and end it playing outright kickball. i’m convinced when he starts talking about how we were learning what quali is like, he’s talking about himself as a coach. since neither the system nor even thursday’s direct attacking soccer were present in panama, he’s clearly instead a pragmatist who should be judged on whether you think 8 points on 5 games is what this pool should be achieving. personally i found it horrifying and not educational that adams came out of the first window having learned 9 points was an arrogant expectation.

      also amused that the people talking up that canada is better than we thought — to excuse what this coach managed there — ignore the implications of that young squad being as good as they argue, for their golden generation theories on our own team. 99.99% of the time they give out one gold medal. maybe you should be asking more of the coach if you don’t want the silver generation for 2 cycles.

  3. Absolutely brutal, frustrating watch. Endless overhit long balls, getting beaten to loose balls time and time again, and never even a threat of a dangerous attacking move or shot. What the h*ll were they doing out there tonight. Horrible, horrible effort.

  4. This is what happens when you “try to get a point”. It is a straight-up loser mentality, same as whining about fields, travel, away crowds, and referees. “Oh it’s Concacaf, you don’t understand.” Come on. The game is over before it starts if you go into it like that.

    And how’d that “verticality” work out? It’s hard to tell when you can’t complete a forward pass in the opponent’s half, isn’t it? Let’s just quit all the gimmicks, moon-shot lineup shuffling, and fancy soccer-talk, and put players on the field who don’t just boot the ball up the field like my kid’s team. If I see another “behind the crest” video come out, I’m gonna puke.

  5. Lletget looked like an amateur. Wasn’t sure how usmnt could look worse and then GB takes off Musah, and Weah and brings in Roldan.

  6. Pretty terrible performance all around. Berhalter seems to have a plan for each game and sticks to it, when it works it works, but when it’s not working his reaction/planB doesn’t look so good. Starting lineup is debatable but some of his subs definitely deserve questioning. Not leaving a spare for injury also seemed to take an effect later in the game when Zimmerman seemed to be playing injured.

  7. A truly disappointing effort from the US men tonight. A very lethargic and disjointed team tonight. Not one challenging shot on goal in 90 minutes. After Wednesday’s team cohesive and effective effort, a real letdown.

    • “No one is saying Arriola should start over Reyna or Pulisic, even over Weah or Aaronson in a one off match. However in a window he’s a useful tool….against weaker opponents that we’ll get more opportunities Arriola is fine because he takes away chances with his 10% better pressure.”

      • Arriola wasn’t the problem, he wasn’t good but he was one of the few actually went towards goal. Lleget and Acosta were non-existent. Lleget killed more US attacks than the Panama defense. Musah wasn’t very good either but at least he went forward.

      • Arriola shouldn’t even be in this pool. He was poor in the gold cup too in the games he played. He’s not an international player

    • in any mood to apologize over the ad hominems issued in defense of arriola and zardes today? instead of admitting i should be seeing pefok, sargent, and some better wings you took a lame opportunity to throw a brick at me over historical support for bobby wood. like, i dropped it earlier this summer. ironically you did advocate hoppe but that’s the one thing you’re not mentioning tonight, is why am i seeing roldan and two backline subs and no hoppe? because that would be a coaching critique and in your frazzled brain this has to be the tired mids on their second game let down coach and not the coach himself sucked.

      i am going to remind you again that we have not beat any teams above 7th and 8th place in the table right now. just like last cycle we are leading the table in GF. the problem is not offensive talent. it’s the unforced errors of selection and the crap tactics.

      if you had the real courage of your convictions you’d be chastizing your coach for selling eurosnob ground ball soccer and then we go down to panama and turn into a kickball team with 11 players picked for defense. he has turned into precisely what he claimed to be maturing us past. tonight of all games begged for some modicum of skill and keepaway possession in front of the back 6. como te gustan las manzanas?

      • Pefok and Sargent wouldn’t have been any better. Heck Reyna and Pulisic would have stranded watching Lletget pass backwards or stand on the ball. The worst I’ve ever seen him play. You’ve been calling for significant squad rotation-Berhalter did that, you wanted Arriola-Lleget-Acosta in midfield Berhalter did that, conservative approach-Berhalter did that. You got what you asked for. Oh by the way the pitch was not an issue.

  8. Straight up Berhalter gave this game away. We were never remotely in it. Plain and simple: garbage player selection. Couldn’t even help himself w/ halftime subs and takes Musah out. I’m not certain if it’s arrogance thinking we could roll out a B- roster- or blindness thinking that was our A-.

  9. This is all on GB how the freak does he make so many changes to start a qualifier? How just manage your substitutes man. SMH.

  10. Rubbish line-up. We had nice flow going-then you completely scrap it? Rotating that many players out is nothing more than over-thinking- over-coaching. That half was no surprise- the play exactly matches the quality of the players trotted out there. Giving away a half of football is always a bad idea. We were very fortunate to not be behind.

  11. Aaronson for Arriola, Pepi for Zardes, Adams for Acosta. Yedlin for one of the backs if they don’t get it together. Not enough subs to remove all six weak points off the field (Bello, Lletget)

      • Agreed on Busio, if for no other reason than service on set pieces. I’d prefer my own right foot over the service we’ve seen tonight. Sheesh.

  12. Pretty clear Weah is being wasted in this lineup. Everything going through Moore, Musah and Arriola on the right. Weah hasn’t gotten a ball into space yet or even one where he can do something with it.

  13. I wonder if this Berhalter’s strategy. We’ve seen it more than once now. Either tell the players to play poorly in the first half or intentionally select the starting eleven that will not be able to produce anything and then make adjustments and subs in the second half to look like a very capable coach who can admit his mistakes and make necessary adjustments.

  14. What GGG envisioned as “2 scrappy teams” looks more like 2 crappy teams. Zimmerman and Turner were good. Musah ok. Weah is frustrated by the bad passing and movement. Zardes contributed by being fouled once. Arriola is too tired to reprise his Jamaica performance. Lletget and Acosta not delivering, should be the first subs in my opinion. Bello wasn’t too bad.

    • I agree Zimmerman was good from what I saw. Crappy streaming keeps going put so I missed pretty large portions of the game. I know we all want US to stomp all these teams but it never works out that way. I think 0-0 was the goal at halftime and ultimately the goal is 1 point. Anything better is gravy. I do expect some halftime subs. I think I saw Adams warming up so I expect he comes in right away

  15. This is a second half team and central American teams cannot keep the pace in 2nd half.

    Little to highlight this half.

    Zardes not his night. Weah is AWOL. Arriola hustling. The mid three are ok. Defense shaky and turner saving this team.

    • it had occurred to me that as sloppy as i thought we were selected to be up top, they are our mirror, and we’d have the better keeper. but the idea is to be better than your opponent in some way…..he says as he watches arriola cross to no one.

    • they actually were just playing 451 on defense. personally i think that’s more sound and mature than 433 and pressing, which to me is childish risk taking against good teams.

  16. I hope that Panamanian fans show enough gratitude to GGG for trotting out this line up for USMNT and making it an entertaining game for the home fans, with plenty of scoring chances for the home side and a road team incapable of finding and making the killer pass to create goals on the counter

  17. there a reason why a team that might be playing for a deadball goal is overhitting the corners to the other end of the 6? and on lofted balls in arriola’s direction it’s almost like he’s conceding the ball and playing defense.

  18. arriola was open in space between the backs and couldn’t trap the ball. people don’t get why this doesn’t work. and panama is too fast and playing the ball around the back too fast to press. so you picked forwards to press and can’t actually do it.

    jamaica should really not be the template for the rest of concacaf.

    • We’re not as bad as first half Honduras, but the first 20 minutes hasn’t been inspiring. Bad passes. Musah ok but showing too much of the ball. Mackenzie took Brooks’ sleeping pills and gets bailed out by Panama’s poor finishing. Lletget passing poorly. Unless we grab one on a set piece, we’re going to go into the 2nd half within striking distance.

  19. I think McKenzie is a mistake, especially on the same side as Bello.
    Surprised Arriola starting..
    Surprised Moore over Yedlin on the road in Concacrap

    • moore has looked fine. yedlin is the one who it’s like how is he even on the list? i’d call moore, a healthy cannon, and scally to trial. yedlin at this point is living off a 5 year dated reputation. i can remember him being on the hook for like 3 goals since sarachan, each of which changed the result. and dest is a wing mid or forward in backfield clothing.

  20. – Weah, Zardes and Arriola up front. Surprised to see Arriola after 90 on Thursday, but guessing he can give us 50-60 hard minutes, then bring on Aaronson or Hoppe. Maybe the same sub pattern for Zardes, who seems to always hustle with his 2-way game.
    – Looking forward to seeing if Weah can stretch the defense. With Aaronson being saved as a sub, he sure seems ready for the moment.
    – A bit surprised to see no M Robinson, but Panama’s strength is not offense, and are all about physicality up front. Zimmerman and McKensie are good choices, with Acosta in the middle, to blunt the attack.
    – We know what we get with Lletget..knock him if you will, but he knows his role, and has shown he can be effective against CONCAFAF opponents.
    – Surprised not to see Yedlin, but both Moore and Bello showed well in the Gold Cup.
    – We’ll know by the 2nd half how well this lineup works together.

    • Panama looked week and may be regressing to the mean, like Ives predicted. I’d say it’s a C team. Should be good enough to hold the fort down for the 2nd half subs of Hoppe, Pepi, and (Dest (if healthy enough/Bello is bad enough) or Yedlin (If Bello holds up).

    • Don’t like the starting XI at all, especially the defense and midfield. I’m expecting a very poor first half and lots of changes early in the second.

    • worth noting, i’d made an argument right around gold cup where it was like, “if player x hadn’t gotten hurt would player y have ever emerged.” horvath got in for steffen’s injury and hoppe was actually seeing the field after arriola got hurt, roldan, even lewis. they made the most of their opportunities but you see where down deep with arriola and zardes healthy that’s who he actually wants to favor. i bring this up because when you’re like asking is this B, C, D, i think his favored 23 if everyone was healthy is different than who we liked and thought played well through summer and september. i say this because it suggests he’s improvising and getting lucky that day he throws hoppe or horvath out there, because down deep he doesn’t quite mean it. his instinct is sean johnson and arriola and zardes even if pefok and horvath and hoppe would outplay them.

      • I think you’re right. The center of gravity seems to be Lletget, Zardes, Acosta and Arriola. When they’re healthy, the lineup seems to yield spaces to them, regardless of their form or those of others. They’re the Bornstein/Ricardo Clark or Wondolowski of this this cycle and go to WC at the expense of at least 2-3 regular starters in top 5 leagues.

        As for today, Pepi, Aaronson and Robinson have been responsible for 100% of the goals one way or another. Leaving them all out at the same time?

  21. Starting XI on US Soccer shows some rotation, but not as much as I thought. Zardes and Arriola haters can get ready to spite their coffee. Miles Robinson must be tired or injured (See IV, that’s what I mean by “in camp.”) Good to see Musah getting another start, and Lletget as well as Acosta on as predicted. Hope Adams can take the whole game off. USA!!! USA!!!

      • Lol, Arriola is a has been and Zardes is a never was.

        Looking forward to the Subs rallying us from 0-2 down to tie and get a point

      • to me it’s a striker problem. not a huge arriola fan but you could do that for 45-60 and put in aaronson and he’s fresh for next week. but the problem is it’s basically 11 guys picked to defend and you’d like at least 1 guy who when we get the ball could either silver platter the rest with service, or be some great finisher themselves. failing that, just a better striker than zardes. i see how this unit could create defensive chaos for an hour. i am curious where the goals will come from. i think he thinks pure speed but panama is not the ideal team to be relying on speed. you wanna match the athletes for defensive purposes but then be the more technical group of athletes.

    • like i said the other day, arriola and zardes are too sloppy to work, you want 1 of those 2 (at least) to be sufficiently technical they can bail the other out. one trying to set up the other is bad news, and i also think athletic soccer at the expense of technique plays to panama’s limited strengths as a tall, athletic team that often lacks team concept and top end skill. he doesn’t get why it was AJ and Zusi that burned this team before — technicians who put it where they mean to.

      mids are fine (from this list), fine with his backline, i prefer the 2 wingbacks for defense and i would have rotated a CB too. i thought zimmermann was better so robinson plays the road game. i would like to see richards but i’d dance with who brung you and trust the 3 guys with more caps. just tell them to boot it downfield in an emergency and it’ll be fine.

      • I don’t think GGG sees this as a “striker problem.” I think he likes what Arriola and Zardes do. He’d only start 1 of Pulisic or Reyna in this game, even if both were available. Zardes gets the nod either way because GGG rates his work rate and tracking back. Zardes ain’t slow either, even if he has the brick feet of a blind and drunken sailor. With the best offensive/possession weapons out, GGG will always double down on guys with motors pressing up front. I still think he stumbled upon rather than created this strategy in the 2nd half of the Honduras game… but I bet he will ride it to the end now that it saved his job.

      • i need to show GB footage of italy this summer where you can get a rough back 8 of defenders, and general team defense — kind of like he does, but then have snipers up top where if they get the ball they can finish it tidy. every line of the field being scrappy is overkill.

      • QO: i can see this unit keeping it to 0-1 goals allowed. the flaw is where do the goals come from. i also think when adams, musah, are in your midfield, plus the backs and turner, we will bottle them up fine with that alone. do you really need to take risks and press? forwards picked for defense? we’re back to gold cup, i see us keeping it pretty clean but to get 3 points you need 1-2 goals.

    • IV, I love you man, but every line of the field being scrappy is not overkill, and Pep and Klopp disagree with you too, for example. Italy’s talent and technical levels are insane, and their clacio culture is built around absorbing pressure to set up the counter, and then possess possess possess with the lead. Maybe we can do that, idk, but I like the pressure game myself and the evolution of the beautiful game to include 11 scrappy players across the lines to disrupt and create…along with other ways too. Unless one is absolutely and exceptionally on another planet then the luxury of a non scrapper is almost gone imo

      • dude, are you watching this? i’m watching 3 forwards picked to chase who because panama’s fast and plays the ball with tempo can’t actually press them. in which case if this is normal soccer give me 3 technicians.

        like i said to JR the other day, you cannot base your tactics and personnel on what works against a crap team like jamaica. jamaica was slow and indecisive in the back. chasing is not going to work today, at least not at this point.

      • of course I’m watching dude. I’d say that half went how GB wanted, absorbing, relying on Turner. And the point remains that Klopp and Pep and soooooooo many others coaching disagree with you. PSG a case in point; when the front 3 play 2 ways, they are good, when they don’t, they basically suck

      • dude, call me when we have PSG’s roster and/or the ability to sign anyone we want with a huge checkbook. until then we have a roster of american passport players and an effective coach puts out an approximation of what we think a great XI looks like, and plays tactics that make them look better and not worse. we played down to their level, the press didn’t work but maybe once, we couldn’t finish what chances we had, and we generally looked like a disconnected mess except for about 20′ after he subbed in aaronson at half. by the end i am watching kickball and a back up there playing striker and asking is this 1990? and those coaches would have had the common sense to have hoppe or someone who could hit a cross in, to hit the target the balls. but i thought we were moving past that and going to play keepaway…..

Leave a Comment