USMNT rally to beat Panama late, save Mexico’s World Cup hopes

US Men's National team vs. Panama

Photo by Michael Janosz/


The U.S. Men’s National Team pulled off some late-game heroics against Panama, and they saved more than just themselves.

The U.S. scored twice in second-half stoppage time to erase a one-goal deficit and beat Panama, 3-2, in a dramatic World Cup qualifier at a rainy Estadio Rommel Fernandez on Tuesday night. Graham Zusi scored the equalizer in the 92nd minute off a cross from substitute Brad Davis and Aron Johannsson netted the winner a minute later with a near-perfect individual effort against the stunned Canaleros.

The result not only saw the Hexagonal-leading Americans match the record point total they set in CONCACAF’s final round of qualifying during the 2006 World Cup cycle, but it also eliminated a heartbroken Panamanian team and saved Mexico from astonishingly missing out on the World Cup. El Tri lost to Costa Rica, 2-1, on Tuesday night and would have been eliminated from qualifying had the U.S. not scored the two late goals.

Zusi and Johannsson’s strikes for a U.S. squad filled with reserves erased two separate leads that Panama had, including a late one that looked to assure that the hosts would move into CONCACAF’s fourth-place spot in the Hexagonal and face New Zealand in next month’s two-legged play-off.

After seeing Gabriel Torres’ 18th-minute opener canceled out by a Michael Orozco header in the 64th, the Canaleros jumped out in front again when Luis Tejada poked the ball into the back of the net in the 84th minute of a match they had to win in order to have any shot at reaching Brazil next summer.

Following a low cross from the right that U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan got a slight touch to but couldn’t steer clear of the center of the penalty area, Tejada outraced the U.S. defense to score a crucial goal that brought Panama’s World Cup hopes back to life. The strike sent the Panamanian players and their fans into a frenzy, as they knew they were on the brink of moving past Mexico in the Hexagonal table due to fourth-placed El Tri trailing Costa Rica in a qualifier played simultaneously.

Panama’s joy turned into despair in stoppage time, however.

With only seconds remaining before Panama could officially celebrate advancing to next month’s play-off, Davis hit a gorgeous cross from the left that Zusi met and did well to head home in the second minute of stoppage time. The Canaleros were punished for questionably continuing to send numbers forward against the Americans instead of dropping them back in an effort to preserve the lead.

Whatever self-belief Panama still had at that moment in the match went up in a cloud of smoke seconds later after Johannsson netted his first goal at the international level. Johannsson, who was inserted by U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in the 62nd minute, hit a hard low shot into the bottom corner that Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo could do little about.

The writing was on the wall for the heartbroken Panamanian players and some of them burst into tears and had to be consoled by the Americans following the sound of the final whistle.

The U.S., who played in a 4-2-3-1 formation in the match, finished their successful Hexagonal campaign with a 7-1-2 record. The 22 points they earned from those qualifiers match the record point total the Americans set during the 2006 World Cup qualifying cycle. The U.S. also finished atop the group back then.

Klinsmann’s side’s qualifying campaign may have ended with a successful road victory, but they are not done playing in 2013 just yet. The U.S. will partake in two road friendlies in Scotland and Austria in November to close out the year.


What do you think of the United States’ 3-2 win over Panama? Was this the wildest night of sports that you’ve experienced? Did you find yourself rooting for Panama so as to see Mexico eliminated? Which American players impressed/disappointed you?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF, Featured, U.S. Men's National Team, World Cup Qualifying. Bookmark the permalink.

220 Responses to USMNT rally to beat Panama late, save Mexico’s World Cup hopes

  1. Maykol says:

    WTF! I hate you usa

    • alf says:

      Panama is good team…….unlucky tonight!
      USA is the very best in CONCACAF and Mexico had better be thankful for that!

      • Lost in Space says:

        Mexico should be thanking their stars that the US doesn’t pull the crap that Mexico (or FIFA) would have if the rolls were reversed.
        Like Honduras did last cycle….Mexico should have a Zusi day for helping them (if they can somehow bead NZ).

  2. Naugles says:

    Mexico: Whose your daddy?

  3. Soccerhorn says:

    What in earth were we thinking?????? Tap the ball around for a few minutes and humiliate our most hated enemy!!! Man oh man. I can see it already, we drawn Mexico in Brazil and get knocked out. Unbelievable.

    • John says:

      Not being able to win and having to have us save them in stoppage time sounds pretty humiliting to me

    • Matt says:

      That can’t happen in the group phase and I doubt they’ll get into the knockout round.

    • Steve Wise says:

      USA knocked México out of the World Cup in 2002. Dos a cero. You could look it up. Why are you so fearful?

    • first time caller says:

      When did you start watching football? One of the GREATES things that could happen to the US in this world cup (assuming the US advances) and that Mexico even qualifies and advance (two BIG if’s right there) would be to wind up facing Mexico in the qtrs again. (whispers) They only can beat us at AZTECA (shhh…) and that’s not even completely true anymore!! They know this, we know this… IFF that occurs this WC (it won’t, we will face Ghana in qtrs as per usual) we will have a HUGE psychological advantage.

  4. Tckc says:

    Mexico will have to rename cinco de maya into viva de zusi day

  5. coachchar says:

    It was a wild finish and this is why I love this sport so much. How does Panama lose a lead with so much on the line? Congrats to Johannson for opening up his account. I’m looking forward to many more. #youarewelcommexico

  6. blokhin says:

    I’ve never been more conflicted about a USA win… I did not root against them per se and it was tough to see them scored upon, but I’m glad it was a W and not a tie… that said, the prospect of Mexico staying home after all the nonsense about being a “dark horse” contender, golden generations, youth titles, Olympics, 2009 and 2011 Gold Cups-that was going to be so sweet!

    Now 11 sheep farmers stand between Mexico and World Cup and they should make it, unfortunately

    • happyjuggler0 says:


    • first time caller says:

      And nothing will be more embarrassing than when that same “golden generation” musters only a draw against the aforementioned sheepherders at Azteca and get bounced from the tournament in New Zealand.

  7. SBI TroII says:


    U.S. Soccer ‏@ussoccer 29m
    #YoureWelcomeMexico @miseleccionmx

  8. David M says:

    All those who were talking for the last two years about the gap between Mexico and USA were clearly right. An eleven point gap, as it turns out.

  9. wfrw07 says:

    What have we seen any time recently that makes people think Mexico is for sure going to beat New Zealand? This could still work out yet.

    • MiamiAl says:

      Mexico sucks. They are not going to the world cup.

    • Raymon says:

      Yep, with wizards and hobbits on their side, there are no limits to what NZ can accomplish.

    • timothy says:

      Having seen New Zealand play Mexico within the last year or so and seeing Mexico win something like 6-0, I’m pretty confident Mexico will win

    • wandmdave says:

      Isn’t like half of the NZ squad still made up of non-professionals. Even current form Mexico should be able to handle that.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        1/3 to 1/2 but they may be able to dig up reinforcements with this kind of opportunity. I think it’s uphill for them but I also think the amateurs may be able to do nothing but train for Mexico for weeks, something the pros don’t have the luxury of. It’s also a question of whether Mexico sorts its tactics or shows up still playing like a MLS/Scottish crossing team.

  10. Kosh says:

    I have enjoyed a few soccer calls but when Zusi tied it up I went over to the CR/Mex game and to hear the jubilation in the announcers voices when the news hit there…man, that was super sweet.

    Mexican fans may never acknowledge or recognize publicly what happened tonight but it’s like thing that happened at the party – they know that we know what happened, and for all the posturing or whatever is to come in the near future between us…they know that we know what happened.

    The team itself has to be loving what just happened to night.

    This was the BEST way tonight could have played out for me.

  11. Dimidri says:

    There’s a difference between me as a fan hoping the US loses and a player intentionally not trying as hard as he can. I was upset when Zusi scored, but you can’t blame him. At all.

    • Chris H says:

      Agreed. If Panama cannot beat the USA’s B team at home, then they don’t deserve to go to the world cup.

  12. Bac says:

    On a more serious note ( amidst all the drama )…
    Who on the usmnt helped or hurt their cause?

    1. First that stood out to me was Evans, last 2 games he may have taken a big step back
    2. Neither Mix, Zusi or Bedoya looked strong, but probably still in the 23
    3. I don’t know what to make of Sasha….
    4. Aron J looked very comfortable on the ball, and a nice finish. I think he’s in the 23
    5. Orozco, Castillo probably out

    Will be interesting to see what happens when the friendlies roll around

    • Kosh says:

      1. Not unless we find a decent RB between now and then Evans is in. Probably still in as back-up anyways.

      2. I agree with.

      3. Sasha is always going to have a hard time because there are so many people on the squad that does what he does better or on par (but come with additional pluses that he lacks). Though if he does make the friendlies to come he best play like a man possessed.

      4. Agree in a BIG way.

      5. Agree in an even BIGGER way.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      Sasha seems to have had two very solid games. Not sure what to make of him? How about make him a center mid that goes to Brazil.

      Why would you drop Castillo after the last two matches?

      • Bac says:

        Sasha showed well as a sub last week, and someone else commented that he may have looked invisible at times tonite because the backline was terrible at building out of the back.. so maybe still an “incomplete”?
        And I don’t think I’d personally drop Castillo, I like his skill overlapping…but clearly Beasley & Fabian are ahead of him, and he’s gotta be a consistent two way player to make the 23… Ultimately I think Fabian may get moved to LB, leaving Edgar out. If not… then the Brek factor comes into play… I think Edgar makes it over Davis if it comes down to those two

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          Castillo over Davis, absolutely.

          FabJo over DMB, certainly—which requires a better LW option. Will it be Brek? Bedoya? Landycakes?

          As for Sasha: agreed. It’s not that he’s bad, it’s that he still hasn’t clearly staked a claim for a CM spot.

          • Bac says:

            Yea remember what JK said Shea when he left to go back to Stoke.. ” Don’t count Brek Shea out “

        • first time caller says:

          Read Sacha was 58-64 with 96 touches, he seemed to link up well, switched the field when space opened up. I thought he played pretty damn well. Good tempo. Had a few shaky giveaways, he’s no il Generale, but after the last two games I’ve seen a lot more positive from him.

          • Bac says:

            I didn’t know his stats, thanx.
            That’s better than I would have thought, and since our back line was atrocious , and his wings played pretty awful, he’s probably helped himself

    • Chupacabra says:

      Beckerman needs to stay home and go to Bonaroo. Maybe Phish will be playing in 2014.

    • Chris H says:

      Thanks for the focus!

      1. I have been happy for Evans, but you are right, his last games have me hoping all the more for Cherundolo’s recovery.

      2. All three had good moments, but we need 90 minutes of good, not moments.

      3. I agree

      4. Bacon scores!

      5. Castillo I think makes the squad, but not as a LB, his speed and ability to go forward late in games is like the Beasley of old. I would rather have him as a late LM addition and not a LB again. Orozco just isn’t better than our other CBs.

      In addition,
      a. Beckerman, I have nothing against him and cheer for RSL, but his lack of pace I think is too
      great a liability at the WC. He probably still makes the squad though, for chemistry, etc.

      b. Goodson continues to put in honest hard work and is making it hard to keep him off the 23

      • Bac says:

        Yea Chris you’re probably right about Beckerman and Goodson. With Beckerman u know what you’re getting, and I think JK likes his work, attitude, chemistry etc, and he’s the pure 6 option on the bench so he probably makes it for that reason.( all the other CM’s in the debate are 2 way guy’s.. and Edu & Williams seem out)
        I’ve never liked him but he played well in the Gold Cup and against Mexico, and has been better than the haters would portray him.

        I think Goodsons spot comes down to the one real wild card possibility, Brooks. It will be very interesting to see what happens when the friendlies are here.

  13. fred says:

    We were minutes away from eliminating Mexico. Why couldn’t we be as corrupt as the rest of the cocacaf and fifa scum! I love you USA, but why do break my heart this way. Damn you for being so great and honest!

    • Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:

      [Herm Edwards] YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME [\Herm Edwards]

    • Benny Dargle says:

      Actually, if we were corrupt we would want Mexico to make it. There is a ton of US money at stake if Mexico doesn’t make the World Cup, starting with the value of the TV rights.

  14. Birgit Calhoun says:

    That was a win by hook or by crook. Klinsmann’s choice of substitutes, other than Johannsson, irked me. The way the US played was not worthy of a win. However, I am glad we won. To me it doesn’t matter whether we helped Mexico. The other CONCACAF countries should not be dismissed as second-rate, as this evening showed.

    • wandmdave says:

      Tbh Boyd was the only head scratcher for me because Jozy was doing so well. I thought the Davis for Evans sub was almost dictated to JK. Zusi and Bedoya weren’t working out on the left and Davis is a lefty. Evans was playing piss poor and we were loosing so rotating Bedoya to the right allowed a more offensive player to stay on and get back to his preferred side.

      • Dirk McQuigley says:

        Castillo is terrible as an outside back, but serviceable as an outside midfielder. That might not be enough for him to make it to Brazil.

  15. silent e says:

    Did anyone notice that after the equalizer one of Panamanian players seems to walk over to Brad Davis with his arms spread wide and says something to him? Probably something like, “What the hell did you do that for? Everything was going great for both of us!”

  16. Joe Dirt says:

    It will be even sweeter now when Mexico fails to qualify against eleven New Zealand sheep herders. Go Kiwis!!!

  17. Maykol says:

    Panama worked their asses off every game and mexico slacked throughout. Football is a cruel game

  18. Brent says:

    Panama would of been gravy if they knew how to close out games.

  19. John Hart says:

    Brad Davis came in and did a great job, as did Johannson. Mix and Sasha had very uneven matches and didn’t really help themselves in getting to Brazil. Beckerman was truly awful, contributing to both Panama goals. His supporters say that he doesn’t have to contribute anything offensively because “that isn’t his role”. So what are we supposed to make of him when he is also terrible defensively?

    • Chupacabra says:

      Beckerman is just terrible. Period.

      He crumbled in a similar fashion against Jamaica.

    • wandmdave says:

      what did Beckerman do on the first one. I thought that was Sacha’s giveaway that lead to that one.

    • KK says:

      First goal was on a Castillo giveaway. Second goal he gets beat to the rebound, but Guzan shouldn’t give that up. I saw KB keep it tidy, move the ball around and provide an outlet for the backs. Dirty work.

  20. dude says:

    OK, I’m coming around. I like Panama a lot, I’d have loved to see them in the World Cup. But they had a game against Mexico, lost it at the death. Had a lead against the US, lost it at the death.

    Let’s move on. Now, who knows anything about New Zealand? I watched all their games at the World Cup, they seemed to have a good defensive unit. Are they capable of putting this listless side down?

    • John says:

      I agree, I really respected Panama for knowing they were down in the Hex and bringing together a strong team to the Gold Cup to get time together. They nearly did it and really had back to back heart breakers. Mexico doesn’t deserve to be in the World Cup and I’d rather they go out to New Zealand now than embarace Concacaf any further next summer.

      • Dirk McQuigley says:

        It’s about closing out games. They gave up a goal w/ 5 minutes to go against Mexico and two in about a minute last night. They’ve made some progress and maybe a better team four years from now, but they blew their chance because of their inability to finish off opponents.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      Capable of taking it to penalties at least. Who hosts the first leg? That could determine the result.

    • Supa says:

      I was at the NZ vs Trinidad match tonight. 0-0 draw. If Mexico can’t roll over NZ then they truly do suck!

    • Joamiq says:

      Well, I can’t blame Panama for losing on that unbelievable bike. They could have done more tonight though. I was absolutely shocked that they didn’t have more numbers behind the ball and didn’t take it straight to the corner every time they had the ball after they took the lead. I hate to say it because I greatly admire Dely Valdes, but I think that was a coaching fail.

      As for New Zealand, I will be surprised if they don’t collectively faint the moment they walk into Azteca.

      • Judging Amy says:

        “As for New Zealand, I will be surprised if they don’t collectively faint the moment they walk into Azteca.”

        lol, brilliant. seriously though, i hope they don’t.

      • another steveo says:

        Apparently you have never seen New Zealand’s rugby team.:-) They just need to walk into the Azteca, do an All-Blacks-style Haka, and they will be fine.

        • Joamiq says:

          Haha excellent point. Actually, maybe they should replace the team with the All Blacks for the game…

  21. Amru says:

    My knee jerk reactions

    -Overall the midfield and forwards played well I think it was really the inability of the back line to build from the back in the first 30 mins of the game is what caused that stretch of poor play. Once we got our passing game going we did alright all things considered

    -Sacha had a really solid game in the middle. Controlled the tempo well, had some really clever plays and touches. Should be considered MB’s back up

    -Orzoco is crap and while castillo had a much better second half I don’t know if I would trust him against better competition. Zusi had a poor game for most of the night, no one has really established themselves as a sure started on RW

    • wandmdave says:

      no knocks on Evans? He is very poor going forward and gets burned by speedy wingers consistently. Every time he got the ball on an overlap or lay off near the box his service was absolutely awful. Not even close to good. It looks like a Clint Dempsey penalty, you just know he has no idea what to do and then he proves it. On D he saved himself once or twice with perfect sliding tackles (which could have easily turned into botched tackles warranting a yellow) but saw his man blow by him several times. Castillo wasn’t any worse on D and if we are going to have a shaky fullback on the field might as well make it one that can help us claw some goals back.

      • Bac says:

        That was my 1st comment. Evans looked average at best last week, and downright poor tonight… And I’ve been a supporter of his play at RB until these last 2 games.

      • Amru says:

        What was I supposed to do write a synopsis on every player :) I completely agree with you though Evans looked really bad tonight

        • wandmdave says:

          I was just surprised Evans seemed to get off scott free without a mention. His play really stood out to me as you could guess.

  22. downintexas says:

    Who would have thought we would be rooting for Egypt and Panama in the same day? Soccer is a crazy sport

  23. Stewart says:

    Frankly, I’m proud of the USA. They treated this like a real game and played hard despite the circumstances. After Panama took the lead twice, the US just kept plugging away and was rewarded.

    I feel bad for Panama, because it’s tough seeing dreams get smashed. However, they should not blame the US for playing hard in a competitive match. To my eye they relaxed on defense after equalizing in Azteca on Friday and after taking the lead late tonight. In my opinion their marking was not good late in either game and tactically they never appeared to decide to play most men behind the ball. Panama has some very good players and offers an exciting game, but mistakes have costed them.

    For those thinking we should have let off the gas to bring Mexico agony, I think it resonates even more that Mexico not only witnessed us clinch an automatic berth but then was left to hope for us to carry them through to a playoff.

    • Nate says:

      “I think it resonates even more that Mexico not only witnessed us clinch an automatic berth but then was left to hope for us to carry them through to a playoff”

      It would have resonated more if they had to think about it for four years. This way, by tomorrow morning they will have moved on to thinking about New Zealand.

    • WK says:

      not only that, didnt the Mexicans walk off the field thinking they were out of the WC, only later to realize their greatest rival had thrown them a lifeline? thats funny…

      wouldn’t mine being Fiscal for the next 72 hrs…

      • louis z says:

        actually, they knew the score when we did. If you noticed there was an assistant that went to the touch line each and every time our game scored changed.

  24. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Both Castillo and Orozco suck, they can’t a Drogba or current Torres, in the World Cup.

    Kljestan was great, kept calm and controlled the tempo playing half-ass.

  25. blokhin says:

    If winning is supposed to feel good, why do I feel like I ran over a litter of puppies and kittens just now?

  26. David M says:

    Too bad Mexico gets to play New Zealand and not Uruguay like Costa Rica did four years ago.

  27. Matt says:

    Anyone know where to find advanced stats for the game? Passes completed, lost possession, etc.?

  28. heff says:

    So is tomorrow, Free Taco Day?

  29. Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:


  30. Peretz says:

    The pure hatred expressed toward Mexico disgusts me. No player who suits up for the U.S, should ever be fixated on any other team except the one he’s presently playing, in this case Panama. The U.S. players upheld the integrity of the game, when they could have easily just let the clock run out in Panama’s favor. Players should play the game and let the chips fall where they may.

    • Judging Amy says:

      Pure hatred? Have you never watched sports before you gigantic nerd?

      • CJinSGV says:

        Lol Judging Amy with the pwnage.
        Okokok seriously. This is what sports rivalry is about. Sox and Yankees. Trojans and bruins. Lakers and celtics. Real and barca. Giants and Dodgers. Chivas and America. Countless others.
        Some of us have to walk the line. I root for Mexico if they are not playing the US, but only because i need my wife to be happy. But I totally understand the sentiment of wanting rivals to lose. As long as no one is being racist about the rivalry, it’s all good.

      • Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:

        do you not understand what he’s saying? We shouldn’t give a **** about Mexico or Panama. We wanna win every match. We do things the right way because we’re the United States of America and that’s how we roll.

        • Judging Amy says:

          oh i agree completely about that part. glad we won. classy by klinsmann and the team.

          but he doesn’t get the rivalry aspect of sports and that a fan’s venom isn’t the same thing as actual hatred for a country. part of the element of competition is wanting to see your opponent and rivals hurting– a killer instinct great teams and players have. that’s why rivalries in sports are great. it has nothing to do with real hatred.

          “The pure hatred expressed towards Mexico disgusts me”

          What a princess.

          in other words, he’s a tremendous nerd.

      • first time caller says:

        I was born a die hard Bears fan. I hated the Packers before I could crawl. But I want them to beat the snot out of every other team they face before they come get their butts whoopd by the Bears because I would always rather beat the best. Every other sentiment beyond that is pure cowardice to me.

        For instance, when I read that Switzerland would likely earn a seed tonight instead of Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy et al, a part of me sighed in mild disgust.

        I mean c’mon, isn’t what you’re like saying, “Gosh wouldn’t it be great if not only are those traditional European powerhouses denied seeds… But what if they failed to qualify altogether! Then we’d REALLY have a shot at winning the World Cup!!” What a bunch of yellaw horse manure that is!

        To be the best, you have to beat the BEST. Anything less is just masquerading in mediocrity.

        But speaking of mediocre, that Mexico football team… wow

        • Judging Amy says:

          mean c’mon, isn’t what you’re like saying, “Gosh wouldn’t it be great if not only are those traditional European powerhouses denied seeds… But what if they failed to qualify altogether! Then we’d REALLY have a shot at winning the World Cup!!”

          No. You extrapolated incorrectly. I mostly agree with your redundant and pointless rant. My comment is strictly about this prissy bit of self-righteousness, “The pure hatred expressed towards Mexico disgusts me…”

    • Haha says:

      haha…this guy has never played competitive sports

    • Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

      This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to eliminate Mexico from the World Cup.

  31. Texian1856 says:

    Mexico now can get a $600MM windfall from World Cup revenues. That means less EBT cards from American citizens. Everybody wins!

  32. Joamiq says:

    I am unable to provide any sort of objective view of the game because I feel absolutely gutted for Panama. It was hard to see them crumple to the pitch and stumble down the tunnel in anguish after the final whistle. I feel like we are terrible bullies who had no reason to do what we just did. That just felt totally unnecessary…

    I guess the one thing I want to point out is that Aron Johannsson brings something to this team that no one else does. He was exuding so much confidence as he started that move that I had no doubt he was about to bury it.

    • Geno Malkiewicz says:


    • Kevin says:

      Give me a break. They played like crap through most of qualifying. They did not deserve to go.

    • Grant says:

      Gotta agree with Kevin on this. Can’t really feel too bad for them; Panama dropped too many points at home.
      Two points:

      Aron Johannsson is legitimate stud in the making, very excited to see more of him. His movement, vision, and finishing is only going to get better.

      CONCACAF has too many WC spots. Reduce them from 3 Automatic to 2 Automatic and 1 playoff.

    • first time caller says:

      I have been watching this kid as much as I can over the past 6-8 months and I can vouch for that move. You watch him with his mechanics at that distance, it’s like when you’re playing street fighter against that guy who once he hit you with that first dragon punch you knew the fight was over, combo combo combo spinning round kicks fireballs boom your KO’d. Iceman starts shuffling out there around the edge of the box, the windup comes and boom, goal. Pretty effen sweet and a type of talent I’ve never seen in a US kit.

    • Ron says:

      @Joamiq, when our National Soccer Team takes the pitch, they take the pitch to WIN, period. That is sports. And among sports, soccer is the cruelest game. GET OVER IT. There are winners and losers. Panama LOST, and it was THEIR OWN FAULT. They could have bunkered to preserve the tie. They didn’t. They stupidly kept pressing forward. Those boneheads lost. We didn’t lose it for them, and the US WILL NEVER LIE DOWN FOR ANYBODY.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      You play to win. Any level you don’t play to the whistle and that can happen. They thought they won it at 85′ ish and the celebration reflected it.

      The one thing that interests me is what they look like agewise, ie, can they build off this or was it a peak performance from players who will be too old next cycle. Because if the team is young enough they can learn from this.

    • Joamiq says:

      Oh my God, can you guys relax? I didn’t say the boys should have laid down and died. I feel proud that they stepped up and kept competing. I just felt really bad for Panama, since I am, you know, a human being who doesn’t enjoy seeing other human beings’ hopes and dreams crushed. It was an emotional reaction. I thought I made it clear that I was not being objective.

      I agree 100% that Panama did this to themselves. In addition to not picking up enough points in other games, they didn’t know how to close this one out. It’s on them. That doesn’t make me feel less sympathy for them.

  33. papasteve_z says:

    I could care less about Mexico benefiting from our scraps or Panama not advancing. US winning regardless, is how you create a new culture. We want every game to be important to every player, because they want to be constantly striving to be the best and be deserving of a spot on the USMNT. I want a team of winners, who can come from behind, overcome playing away from home in hostile environments, and represent the US with everything they have regardless of the circumstance. I am incredibly proud the US fought til the last minute tonight, and I hope they always do so regardless. Couldn’t be more proud or more excited to see where this USMNT takes us. USA!

    • John says:

      I support this message

    • quozzel says:

      Interesting sidebar…just ambled on over to FIFA’s website and used their ratings calculator…looks like the USA will finish with 1040 points…which should move us ahead of Greece and Portugal (which will have 1036 points after their tie with Israel today)…to finish 11th…just three spots out of the seeds for the World Cup. Pretty sure that’s where it ends…the seeds in the December draw will be determined, I believe, by the October ratings.

      We’ve won 14 of our last 15 under Klinsmann…and came very, very close to winding up with a WC seed. Kinda stinks…we only needed another 30 or 35 points or so to getting our own group in the World Cup.

      That’s progress, for sure. I know we were technically ranked higher in 2006, but I very much doubt anyone thinks that ’06 team in reality was better than this one.

      • papasteve_z says:

        Totally agree, and the way to get to a seeded position in future rankings is maintaining a winners mentality and to continue vetting talent as JK has been. The US should stake a claim of dominance and strike fear in the hearts of our foes for decades to come. I never want the opposition to think there will be games that they can win or easy games against the US. This is how the US becomes truly great and some day wins a world cup.

      • Intelligent comment. Well played!

      • The Other Jeff says:

        We will stay at 13th. We will move ahead of Portugal, Croatia and Greece. But we got leapfrogged by Switzerland, England and Chile. Would have taken 1138 to tie Switzerland for a seed.

        Still, I agree that this is great progress and the top-15 ranking does seem to reflect reality for the first time.

        BTW, assuming Uruguay win their playoff, 4 of the 8 seeds will go to South America. There will be a lot of very good European teams not seeded. Including Italy, Netherlands, who will tie for the 8th spot if Uruguay fail.

    • papasteve_z says:

      I should have said “I could NOT care less”

    • Judging Amy says:

      Yes of course. I mean it sucks that Panama didn’t qualify and Mexico goes on to play NZ, but very proud of the class and character of our team. Fan emotion and fantasy is different from the actual professionalism you want your squad to show.

    • Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:


    • wandmdave says:

      here here!

    • Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

      Goal #1 – Qualify for the World Cup

      Goal #1a – Eliminate Mexico from the World Cup

    • Fredo says:

      The USMNT always plays ’til the end. That’s nothing new. I’d like us to start with left wingers on the left and right wingers on the right. That would be cool.

  34. Judging Amy says:

    Classic commentary in Spanish on bein sport espanol-

    Quienes son los gigantes del CONCACAF? Para mi no hay duda– Estados Unidos.

    Who are the giants in CONCACAF? For me there’s no doubt– USA.

    I think I’ll make that into a t-shirt.

  35. Green76 says:

    I was rooting for the USA all the way like I always do. I want our team to always play to win. It doesn’t matter if it’s the World Cup, Qualifying, a friendly, or practice. Winners play to win. Everyone else can stand or fall on their own. Congratulations to the USA! Keep it up!!!

  36. Lost in Space says:

    Part I love the most in all this is that Mexico’s (Golden Generation, Olympic Gold Medal, etc, etc, etc…) managed 7 goals in 10 matches. While the US (pack it in Defense) scored 15. So who plays the more attacking & attractive style????

    • Ali Dia says:

      It is nice. But the fact is you won’t care at all about Hex stats in 9 months. Or even 1 month. Nor will anybody else.

  37. Kar says:

    While I came down to Panama to watch the US play well and win, the way it happened was gut wrenching… I wish I could have celebrated Johannsson’s first goal more…

  38. Joamiq says:

    My brother had a pretty good idea – we should let New Zealand hold their home leg in Columbus.

    I’m having lunch with a Mexican friend tomorrow. I think it’s safe to say he’s buying.

  39. Rich says:

    Feel bad for Panama. They were so close.

    I thought KB looked out of sorts tonight. Loved the hook on AJs first shot. Loved the goal. I think he will jump to #2 striker

    • wandmdave says:

      I know there is a WC to focus on but I’m salivating for the next cycle. We’ve got the potential to have a ton of great talent maturing all at the same time. Now if only we could produce some more fullbacks.

  40. smokeminside says:

    will there be a rebroadcast?

  41. fischy says:

    I have Mexican family. I love Mexico. But, I have been rooting from the beginning for Panama to make it. It would have been the most amazing thing for that country — and just to make the WOrld Cup, but to make it when the tournament is just a little ways down south, in Brazil. I’m sure so many Panamanians would have made the trip. So, I feel badly for them.

    On the other hand, I could see it coming when they kept charging forward and trying to take on USA defenders, instead of having the good sense to slow the game down and/or take the ball to the corners. They were thumbing their noses at the soccer gods, and they were smote down.oThey were too caught up in their feelings of glory. That’s never a good thing.

  42. wandmdave says:

    I might have felt a little bad about this W if Panama’s goalie hadn’t pulled that fake injury time wasting BS there at the end. US was being sporting about the whole thing and they pull that? At that point I lost all empathy for them. Man up and play the game right or you don’t deserve to win.

    • Dirk McQuigley says:

      Agreed. He was faking it big time. I don’t think Boyd even touched him. IF he did, he barely grazed him and the goalie was totally embellishing. He deserved a yellow. Which brings me to my next point: Courtney Campbell is a shitty referee. He has no business refereeing WC qualifiers or even youth soccer for that matter.

  43. Player grades are up.

  44. USfan123 says:

    “The good team will find the way to win” (Donovan).
    I believed and told my friends at 89” when US downed 2-1 “US will tie or win do not worry”; It happened. Congratulation and credit to US team, especially to JK. Go to Brazil and make noise.

  45. Jeter says:

    For whatever reason, Jurgen only puts Brad Davis in for a few minutes and all of you expect miracles within that time frame. Finally Klinnsman puts him and gives him enough time to get warmed up and now everyone sees what’s possible.

    Davis certainly isn’t fast, but he’s a smart player with good instincts. He reads the game well and loves to serve goals on a silver platter. I think he could provide wonders on the Left Wing for the USMNT if given more chances to become acquainted with the US squad and get more playing time on the pitch against good teams. He’s a good competitor and has a few tricks up his sleeve if given the opportunity.

    Go Dynamo!

    • Green76 says:

      Great service from Davis! He has a great left foot. I look forward to seeing more of him with the US team.

  46. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    Already qualified and a chance to eliminate Mexico from the World Cup … strategically / big picture-wise, the USA should have manned down and eliminated Mexico from the World Cup. I would much rather face any other CONCACAF team in a knock out round of the World Cup than Mexico. Hope it doesn’t come back and bite us.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Garbage. Eliminating Mexico in 2002 in a knockout WC was awesome. If you are really better than your rival you dream of beating them up in front of the whole world. If you are a coward, you enjoy eliminating them through back-channels and intentionally losing games. Stop being a beta male and believe in your team! We are good!

    • Dominic says:

      Do you want the US to be taken seriously in the soccer world like any other American? Yet you comment here saying that you would rather have us lay down and lose to an inferior opponent. Makes no sense! Win, win, win and things will fall into place… Why be scared of Mexico?

    • Skifast! says:

      Why are so many people afraid to a scenario where we play against Mexico in the knockout rounds? I don’t understand. First of all, Mexico has to beat NZ. Secondly, we have to qualify out of our group in Brazil (as would Mexico). Thirdly, the chances of us going up against Mexico again like we did in 2002 are minimal. Fourthly, if we were actually pitted against Mexico and could not beat them, then we would not deserve to move on to the next round anyway!

    • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

      The difference is that Mexico is the only other CONCACAF team that ever makes it to the group stage. I think the US owns Mexico in the group stage match more so than any European, Asian, or (God forbid) African team likely to make it there, so I like seeing them in Advance in WC. Dos a cero all day long baby.

    • away goals says:

      In what universe is panama playing in a knockout game at the world cup finals?

      Mexico would be a dream matchup in an elimination game when you consider the possible top 16 alternatives.

  47. beto says:

    1. USA
    2. who cares
    3. who cares
    4. Mexico

    any time mexico,

  48. louis z says:

    Still think AJ is not the real deal?

    • Bac says:

      I think once he feels more integrated with these guys, and more comfortable that he’s not a newbie, he’s going to be great to have on our team.
      His vision, spacing, natural touch over the ball are all strong.
      Once he grows in confidence with his teammates… oh yea

    • Tristan says:

      I disagree. He may not be great with the partners he’s been given but I think he is the future, not Altadore. The only other one I’d like to see get a run out is Juan Agudelo. He has amazing skill and I think if he stays healthy, should be given more chances. He’s young and talented

      • Scweeb says:

        I see AJ taking over Dueces roll. I like how he came back and made plays and put him self in the game instead of waiting for it to come to him.

        • Dirk McQuigley says:

          He did a much better job than Diskerud in that position. They really opened up the attack as soon as Bacon came in the game. I wish he was able to bend that one in just before Panama made it 2-1.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I like the combination of a Wondo type motor with actual skill, finishing, and soccer IQ. Another Dempsey/ Donovan type that can help.

  49. Sandtrout says:

    1. You can’t be a top team in the world unless you have that killer instinct. Maybe we’re developing it.

    2. Why didn’t Panama just put 11 behind the ball? They could have avoided this, but they kept attacking!

    3. It’s a pretty proud moment when a B-plus USMNT goes into Central America and wins a qualifier. Under these circumstances, what a credit to the USA.

    4. Why would you do anything but play to win? Anything else is too clever by half.

    5. USA! USA!

  50. Brashwinder says:

    Great article Franco, petition to change name to SoccerByFranco seeing as good ol Ives rarely posts on here anymore and saves all of his good stuff for

  51. Hush says:

    I remember a few years ago we were so close to elimanting the Giants from entering the playoffs, long story short,.. They won the Super Bowl that year because of us with a 9-7 record. It should have been us :(

    With that said, I would have cared less if we lost to Panama. In my opinion it would have been sweet to have seen the Mexican media go bananas for not qualifying to the WC. It also would have been amazing for Panama to have its first taste with the big boys in the world, would have been great for the country and its economy.

    My point.. If we had lost to panama, I would have felt like we actually won! For all the headbutts and dirty play from Oswaldo sanchez and borgetti whinny a$$ it would have been super sweet to have seen their dumb face reactions. Could have made shirts that read ” No W.C 2014 for you” with the sienfield soup guy on the shirt as well :)

    I hate the packers, cardinals, giants, redskins, pistons, and the MexNT.. I have no love for them and wish all the losing possible to them :)

    • Dirk McQuigley says:

      Dallas fan. Weak.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I was pleased for the never-say-die attitude because that serves the team well in World Cups…..if we get the right draw. Algeria, etc.

      • IndyElevenFan says:

        It seems as though the “identity” of United States football is beginning to emerge through the WNT and MNT continuously playing until the final whistle blows. This is good and should put whoever our group is on notice that if you sleep – even during stoppage time – we’ll continue to press the issue.

  52. MikeG says:

    The USMNT could not have gotten far enough this WCQ campaign without the dedicated constructive criticism of posters on All of us deserve to toast ourselves and the USMNT.

  53. SamInMaine says:

    Mexico 0-0 New Zealand at Azteca
    New Zealand 1-0 Mexico in Auckland.

    Book it.

  54. Brain Guy says:

    Will Zusi get a statue in Mexico like the one Bornstein has in Honduras?

    • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

      +1 Wonder how many Mexican babies will be named Graham next year. :)

      • Mr_A says:

        Or how ’bout Castillo? After all, he plays down in la Liga, no? As one of the game commentators said, “The most valuable player from the Mexican side last night!”

  55. Engkzl says:

    How come nobody’s said anything about how Orozco’s goal looked like it came off his arm? It certainly wasn’t a header. I’m a U.S fan, but was wondering if anybody else saw a different angle. I’ve watched the original about 10 times, and it looks hinky.

    • louis z says:

      There is no way it would have come out that fast if it was his arm. I think he knocked it in with the ball of his shoulder.

  56. Skifast! says:

    I was rooting for a US win for the simple reason that they are my team…

    But, I’m amazed at the tactics of Panama. When they had the lead late in the match, why on Earth did they not bunker. They have bunkered for entire games countless times in their history, but the moment they needed it the most they kept playing with an attacking mentality that exposed them.

    • wandmdave says:

      I don’t think that is true. After their first goal the back line suddenly and room to breathe and build out of the back unchallenged. As soon as we leveled it pressure started up again. Then when Panama went up again we suddenly had time on the ball in our half again. If anything it just shows we have some talent to break down teams if they give us some time on the ball now.

      • Skifast! says:

        I’m talking late in the match, when we generated a lot of chances and they were still making forays forward. That wasn’t the type of bunkering I remember seeing from them in the past.

    • Umlaut says:

      I think, more than anything, they were kind of half-heartedly bunkering. They pushed really hard for that goal and when it came all the emotions came out and they were truly exhausted. They bunkered, but they didn’t get much pressure on the ball due to tiredness, and as a result the US broke them down (for the Zusi goal. The Johannsson goal was obviously different, they were just out of it by then).

  57. Paul says:

    Panama did not play with the necessary composure to hold a lead and advance to the WC. It’s all about game management after their 2nd goal, and they did not execute. If you cannot execute in the WCQ, you will get swamped in Brazil. They don’t deserve to advance.

    The US B-team played the game like it was a tryout for Brazil. Panama played with a lot of heart and aggression, and provided a good test for some of the lower-tier players. I thought, under the circumstances and intense pressure, the players accounted well for themselves. JK has done a great job building a formidable player pool, including this game.

    I join the crowd who would not have been disappointed with seeing Mexico eliminated. I consider it payback for the vulgar, disrespectful behavior fans of Mexican descent show to US players and fans at games here at home. There is a very good reason why the USSF has not scheduled a friendly with Mexico in LA since 1998, and why we play the qualifiers in Ohio.

    Honduras and Costa Rica earned their spots in Brazil and will represent our region well. I question whether Mexico, based on the results, deserves to be there.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The inability to sit on a lead for 5 minutes is a basic tactical failure, and with their athletic backs, they let Zusi ghost in for a header?

  58. Dennis says:

    Calm down. Our defense is good enough, mostly, to stop teams, many of whose stars play in MLS and whose stars can’t keep pace with either Magee this year or Wondo over the last 4 years, Germany and Belgium showed what happens against better attackers. Italy result was surprising. Our offense has been able to score against defenders who mostly cannot shine in MLS. The results against a dispirited Mexico were a bit surprising. Only the comeback against a German team in a friendly can be taken as a real positive offensively heading to Brazil, but one game does not make a trend.

    I feel really sorry for Panama, but Mexico did, just barely, better than them in the Hex.

    • Dirk McQuigley says:

      Comeback against Germany? We never trailed in that match. Perhaps you meant the US REBOUNDED after their loss to Belgium, but we never needed to come back against Germany.

    • wandmdave says:

      wow man. I mean anyone who thinks we’re going to go in and win the World Cup or even that getting out of our group won’t be a dog fight are crazy. However we’ve had several decent results against European sides both home and away this cycle. You’re laying on the naysaying a little thick aren’t you?

  59. SMIFFY says:

    Am I to understand that Jozy Sunderland is apt to rhubarb penetrate the zonal WORLD CUP left alone despite a TOTAL fitness levels for a Jurgenn horticulture share NOTHING but yes, now that we all can only snapple on the cusp of fissure a decision? Please. This is an OK sconce to RED CARD? Surely a Shea sophisticate locker room permanence symbiotically JOZY JOZY again, these drapes. DO you think an ewe was NOT JOZY. AGAIN?

  60. Josh D says:

    My quick notes to those who don’t care:

    1. Strikers: Let’s have perspective on Boyd and Aron – it took the better part of two years for Jozy to learn and excel in Klinsi’s system. Any lack of cohesion with those two and the rest of the team will be ironed out with time.

    2. Mix: Mix is a fantastic creative midfielder. He just doesn’t bring the nose for goal we need in the shadow striker/hole role. I think he’s far more creative than Dempsey, and actually looked like he worked better with Jozy, but Dempsey scores; and in that position we need a goal scorer. Mix had a few opportunities to unleash his cannon but chose to pass. Saying that, I think Mix had a solid 7 game; his touches and passing were spot on.

    3. Sascha, Zusi, Castillo, Evans, and Bedoya all did their best to convince Klinsi not to take them to Brazil. What awful performances.

    4. Evans: I think his play will encourage Klinsi to take a look at Lichaj and Chandler again in November. Please, please, please.

    5. Guzan: What an awful night. It wasn’t career-ending by any shot, but the cries to see him usurp Howard will be a little quieter now. Call it nerves, call it the wet surface, call it the moment, he played poorly.

    6. Klinsi: What a half-time maestro.

    • I’m not sure why we need goals from the second striker spot. If mixx can get ten assists from that spot isnt that as good as clint’s ten goals? Plus it’s not like mixx can’t score. Dempseys a great player and needs to be on the field. Nonetheless mixx is also proving to be pretty valuable in the middle of the pitch.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Goodson and the CBs gave you a couple reasons to keep shopping there. I was pleased with the fightback but felt like the game reflected a pattern whenever Goodson is around. 2-2 Russia. 2-1 Honduras. On and on. When do we learn.

    • Umlaut says:

      Obviously Zusi didn’t have a great all around game, but I think it’s worth something that he showed the killer instinct to get an all-important goal in stoppage time. And as far as Guzan, I can’t think of a mistake besides the second goal where he should have at least parried it away from the middle of the box, though admittedly that was a big mistake. To be clear I’m not calling for Guzan to replace Howard just yet, but I think saying he had an “awful night” is a little much. And Kliestjan? Why do you think he had a bad game? In style he’s the closest we have to Bradley, and when Bradley is out that’s who I want to replace him. Mix is similar, but has less defensive bite, not a box-to-box guy like Bradley.

      On an unrelated note, does anyone know who got the captain’s armband after Jozy subbed out?

    • MJC-DC says:

      Agree except for (3). Sacha and Castillo were both strong. Sacha had a nice 58/64 passing line with 8 recoveries (go take a look at the distribution on the chalkboard at – Good movement of the ball all over the pitch). I think a better understanding of the role Klinsi asked him to play would benefit both our analyses, that said, I see no reason why the guy that out touched all other center midfielders and had a wonderful passing night gets the grade “awful” from you.

      Same goes for Castillo, 62/68 passing (very strong for an outside back), very involved down the left (114 touches). Crossing was a little lacking (only one successful – probably the one Boyd skied off his head).

      Both these guys had performances that merit consideration for the final 23.

    • CeezNYRB says:

      Guzan had an awful night? Please explain how. PLEASE!! People are so quick to criticize everything for the sake of criticizing that they don’t stop to think about what they’re saying. I don’t know if you were just reaching or didn’t know what you were talking about or maybe a combination of the two but Guzan did NOT have “an awful night”. Awful? Yeah, ok.

      And no, the cries to see him usurp Howard will not be “a little quieter”. He *IS* going to succeed Howard, you do realize that yes? It IS going to happen. Who else do you propose usurp Howard? Rimando? Hamid? Johnson? Whenever Guzan has been called up, have ANY of those been the #2 over Guzan? Yeahhhhh. Let’s get real. Don’t go nega-mongering just because…let’s try to make some sense here.

    • Hogatroge says:

      You’ve got some good points, but I have to disagree with a few.

      Sacha was solid in the midfield… involved with almost every passing sequence that threatened. He also broke up a lot of plays and fought hard to win the ball back if he did turn it over. Additionally, he put himself in good places to get some shots off of rebounds, but was denied by good defending. What more could you want from a non-attacking midfielder? He definitely helped his position with the team last night, even if he’s not displacing Bradley or Jones from the starting lineup.

      Castillo wasn’t great in the first half, but in the 2nd he also played very well. Klinsmann obviously gave him the go ahead to move farther up the pitch, and he got in dangerous positions when he did.

      Also, Guzan was hardly MotM, but he doesn’t get a failing grade. Let’s remember that he did make a couple crucial saves AND it was raining cats and dogs out there. His defense let him down on both goals, even if his parry on the 2nd could have been a little better.

  61. LM says:

    USA on top AGAIN!

    It was a dead first half for the USA, I don’t want to criticize but Jozy was like the invisible man out there and the defense lack support at times but in the end the win is what matters and also we gotta give props to Johannsson who did it all on his own…aside from the pass by Boyd but hey the kid has got talent and that goal in the final seconds was brilliant! I hope Klinsmann calls him up for the remaining games because I really think he deserves a trip to Brazil.

    • away goals says:

      Johann did well, but he did not do it “all on his own.”

      Boyd’s pass created a 2v2 and sacha’s overlapping run froze the pressure defender for a half second allowing johann to cut in and hit through a narrow window.

      Textbook combination play.

  62. Dan in New York says:

    Am I the only one who has been impressed with Aron Johannsson’s pinpoint passing so far? The finish on the goal was great but I’ve watched him start a couple attacks in the last two games with some precision passes to the wings that were scintillating. He’s going to be fun to watch.

    • louis z says:

      Yeah, some folks sees him only as a striker, in reality his linking up game is superb, the way he sees the field is impressive. I said all along AJ should be our SS (Dempsey’s role), maybe not this cycle, but for sure the next cycle.

  63. Ted in MN says:

    Evans struggled at times against Quintero but he didn’t have really the kind of shocking lapses we saw with Castillo. When things go wrong with him, you might as well just blow up the whole backline because somebody’s gonna score. Considering the depth issue at right back, I’d say that Evans needs to be on the next few rosters but I wouldn’t mind not seeing Castillo again. DMB or FJ, either way you’re fine.

  64. Scott e Dio93 says:

    I really love to see both Boyd and Aron start, in next friendlies.

    I could see Aron playing like Donovan/Dempsey role behind Boyd vs Scotland.