USMNT World Cup qualifying takeaways: After Ricardo Pepi stars against Jamaica, here’s what to know vs. Panama


The United States men’s national team is sitting pretty in World Cup qualifying, resting at the summit of the Concacaf table thanks to an undefeated start and back-to-back wins. Thursday’s victory further cemented Ricardo Pepi as the star No. 9 for this team, it showed what a midfield with Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah and Tyler Adams could look like, and it also allowed for some fine performances off the bench, which is important during a three-game window.

You can find our match recap here and our player ratings here.

Ahead of Sunday’s game at Panama at 6 p.m. ET on Paramount+, here are three takeaways from the Jamaica game with Panama in mind.

1. The depth appears there for Berhalter

Don’t look now, but during a time where depth is key thanks to a triple-fixture window, the United States appears to have it. Well, that is if you believe what you saw from the bench on Thursday. I sure do. Gregg Berhalter wasn’t hesitant in his changes and deserves to be praised for it. He took off key pieces like Pepi and Brenden Aaronson, saving them for the other matches by taking them off with 22 minutes to go. The players that came in for them looked the part in Gyasi Zardes and especially Tim Weah. Zardes should of scored, and he’ll feel confident in doing so on Sunday, but he looked lively and got into the open spaces, providing some depth behind Pepi.

Weah was simply fantastic in his short time on the field. Weah came in and had just 14 touches, but he created two chances with his speed and just looked to be on another level. That confidence in which he played, and the danger he caused in such a short time, should result in some serious minutes for him on Sunday. Heck, perhaps even a start. 

As for Zardes, while his passing was a bit off, he had an xG of 0.94 on three shots and really should have scored. But, his pace to find holes of space was encouraging and just what Berhalter wanted to…

Source : cbssports

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