The United States men’s national team could not confirm their place at this winter’s World Cup after Costa Rica’s victory in El Salvador earlier in the day, but their 5-1 win over Panama in Orlando , in Florida, on Sunday night, brought her to the brink. qualification for Qatar 2022.
Christian Pulisic scored his first career hat trick with the national team, and extra goals from Paul Arriola and Jesus Ferreira saw the Americans headed for a lopsided result that knocked Panama out of the race for a place in Qatar . qualifying final table, the United States would have to suffer a six-goal loss in Costa Rica on Wednesday to be denied automatic qualification and sent to the playoffs with winners Oceania.
Despite a mathematical possibility, at the end of the match, the American players unfurled a red and blue banner with “QUALIFIED” written in bold and white letters.
“We know we’re not there yet, despite what that banner might have said,” USA coach Gregg Berhalter said.
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USA were awarded a penalty in the 15th minute, when Walker Zimmerman and Anibal Godoy clashed in the Panama penalty area. After a check with VAR, it was apparent that Godoy’s hands hit Zimmerman’s face and, after the latter fell to the turf, Pulisic’s cross found Godoy’s arm. Chelsea talisman and USA captain on the night confidently converted the kick that followed.
“I think because of the trip,” Berhalter said of giving the captain’s armband to Pulisic. “You have a guy who’s been there before. He was on the pitch when we didn’t qualify. And we told him: it’s a new group, it’s a new team and you you are a leader.”
The hosts doubled their advantage six minutes later. Antonee Robinson swung a teasing ball from the left flank, and the 5ft 6in Arriola rose taller among a pair of Panamanian defenders to expertly head a header into the far corner.
The lead increased to 3-0 at minute 27. A series of rallies from Arriola, Luca de la Torre and Shaq Moore eventually led to a stray ball finding Ferreira’s feet inside the box. repair, and the FC Dallas striker coldly. smashed the Americans’ third goal.
Panamanian captain Godoy conceded a second penalty in the second minute of first-half stoppage time. The Nashville SC midfielder was tried for hitting Miles Robinson with an arm to the face, although contact between the two men as they jostled for position looked minimal, and Pulisic added his second from the penalty spot before the teams headed to the locker room.
Twenty minutes into the second half, Pulisic scored his hat trick and extended the Americans’ lead to 5. The American number 10 showed impressive close control to bamboozle a pair of Panamanian defenders, pulling off a cross from De la Torre, before moving past Luis Mejia.
Godoy pulled back a consolation goal for the visitors in the 86th minute, when he met Eric Davis’ cross and headed clear of Zack Steffen.
The USMNT will assume the Ticos in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.
“We are honestly [will] approach it like any other game,” Pulisic said. “We will prepare exactly as we would if we needed a win.
“I really want to play in a World Cup and this team too.
“I’m just very happy that we’re able to be in a good position to do this and finish the job.”