The United States men’s national team has a golden opportunity on Sunday to earn a bit of separation in World Cup qualifying when the team visits Panama at 6 p.m. ET on Paramount+. The Americans are coming off a fine 2-0 win over Jamaica, with Ricardo Pepi once again delivering, while the Panamanians recently suffered a 1-0 loss as El Salvador.
A victory for the U.S. could open up a six-point advantage above fourth-place in qualifying, with that spot going to the intercontinental playoff when all is said and done.
Ahead of the game, here are three things to watch, a predicted XI and more:
1. Time to rotate
There is expected to be a lot of rotation in the starting XI for the U.S. simply out of necessity. With some of these windows featuring three games due to the condensed schedule, you have to give minutes to other players and have your depth tested in order to avoid overworking them. After the first qualifier in September, coach Gregg Berhalter made six changes to his starting XI, and a similar number should be expected here. We know at least two changes will have to be made as Antonee Robinson (travel restrictions between Panama and U.K.) and Weston McKennie (quad injury) didn’t travel with the team after starting against Jamaica.
On top of that, I expect Paul Arriola to be on the bench for this next match, and perhaps Sergino Dest as well.
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2. Weah could have himself a big game
While that depth will be tested, U.S. fans should be good about the replacements. Tim Weah looked fantastic off the bench against Jamaica, and one would think he gets a start here based on what he showed. With Panama’s defense lacking discipline and often stabbing in at tackles when it isn’t needed, I suspect…
Source : cbssports