United States vs. Panama
|Date & Time||Sunday January 27, 2019, 8:00 PM (EST)|
State Farm Stadium
The Line: US -196 / Panama +540 / Draw +280 -- Over/Under: 2.5
United States and Panama meet Sunday in an international friendly soccer match at State Farm Stadium.
The United States begins its 2019 season with this game, which also means this will be the coaching debut for Gregg Berhalter. USMNT has certainly seen better days, as the club obviously didn’t qualify for the Word Cup and then ended 2018 with losses in four of their last six matches, which includes back-to-back shutouts in their last two games. Sure, poor results in friendly matches aren’t the end of the world, but its important team USA starts putting together some encouraging performances, especially with the Concacaf Gold Cup taking place in a few months. The United States also has a measuring stick friendly match coming up against Costa Rica next week. Team USA needs a shot in the arm, and while Panama isn’t an opponent worth bragging about, a complete and dominating performance here could help turn the tide for a side that hasn’t had many positive moments lately.
Panama is coming off its first ever World Cup appearance, and while there was zero success in those three games, it was a nice building block for Los Canaleros. The bad news for this game is that Panama is still without a head coach, as Gary Stempel is calling the shots on an interim basis due to Hernan Dario Gomez leaving for Ecuador. Panama will also be playing an extremely young roster in this contest with only seven players who have seen time on the senior team. Mainly Fidel Escobar and Abdiel Arroyo are the only two players on the current roster who have been on the big stage before. Every other player on the current roster has three or less caps. There can’t be a whole lot of expectations with this current Panama squad at the moment.
The US won the last meeting against Panama, 4-0, in 2017 FIFA World Cup Qualifying. The other four meetings between the USA and Panama resulted in 1-1 draws. The United States holds a 12-1-6 record against Panama all time.
These are two very young teams that have coaching question marks, so there’s no telling what’s going to happen. The main difference in this contest is that USA has at least given its younger players some caps to get them used to this stage. Panama on the other hand is extremely green, and things tend to get ugly with teams this inexperienced. Also, the United States has owned Panama over the years. Granted, the USA was a different team back then, but on American soil and the lack of experience on Panama’s side, there’s no reason to think that doesn’t continue.
I’ll take the US to get the victory for the somewhat reasonable price.