Home side United States left nothing to chance and as a result were dominant in their fixture against relative minnows Panama, after The Stars and Stripes demolished the visitors 4-0 at the Orlando City Stadium on Friday evening, local time.
Bundesliga stars Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund and Bobby Wood from Hamburg got themselves in the scoresheet, but it as Toronto FC star Jozy Altidore who stole the show, bagging the brace to cap a wonderful night for the USA.
The victory meant the USMNT climb the table to third place with 12 points with just one game left to play. The top three teams in Round 5 of the CONCACAF qualifiers advance to the final in Russia next year.
The game started with the Americans quickly in the driver’s seat. Pulisic scored a lightning-fast goal on the eighth minute, showing good first touch to receive Altidore’s incisive pass towards the box, with the Dortmund playmaker slotting the ball in from a tight angle for the score.
Eleven minutes later, Pulisic would return the favour by pulling off an inch-perfect cross towards Altidore, who made no mistake and scored from point-blank range.
Finding themselves two goals down, Panama started showing resistance and striker Gabriel Torres did well to hit the target from outside the box, although US keeper Tim Howard did well to make the save.
Two minutes from half-time, USMNT were awarded a penalty after Wood was adjudged to have been fouled inside the box. It was Altidore who stepped to the spot and coolly slotted the ball home for a third goal for the home team.
To wrap things up, Bobby Wood would score three minutes after the hour mark. Club Tijuana frontman Paul Arriola snuck past his marker on the wing and made a clean pass towards Wood, who did well to fire the ball with authority towards the back of the net.
The United States now have just one game left to play, a match against Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, 11th October. If results elsewhere go their way, then the Yanks may well have booked for themselves a ticket to Russia.
One giant step closer to Russia! 🇺🇸
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) October 7, 2017