After late goals broke Panama's hearts in 2013, US returns

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No kidding. Late in the first half, Pulisic created the goal that put the US ahead, using his talent and guile to turn burly Panamanian centerbacks Felipe Baloy and Román Torres into traffic cones before feeding Clint Dempsey for the Texan's 56th career global goal.

The U.S. has met Panama in six World Cup Qualifiers during two different cycles. Diego Reyes's victor ensured that Mexico grabbed a full 6 points from this week's games, which also caused coach Juan Carlos Osorio to shave his head after losing a bet with Chicharito Hernandez.

Another man who needs little introduction to fans of the US men's national soccer team became the oldest scorer of a hat-trick on Saturday. Playing on the road in the qualifying round is always a challenge, and Panama has gotten to this point, and deservedly so.

"Three minutes into the game, you realize you're playing 12 against 11", American goalkeeper Tim Howard said. If we win all of those without taking another point [on the road] we'll have 13. "In past years that should get you to the World Cup". A win against Trinidad and Tobago is a must. Still in the fourth spot, with three teams to go through automatically, the squad is locked in a qualifying scrap that it should emerge from but can't afford to sleep on. "That's kind of how we feel". Antony Lozano put host Honduras ahead of Costa Rica in the 35th and Kendall Waston got the Ticos' goal in the 68th.

If the US manages to catch Mexico or Costa Rica, great. The USA is coming off a resounding 6-0 win over Honduras at home on Friday, which assuaged many concerns after the nightmare 0-2 start to the Hex. And if that sounds like lowered expectations, well, it is.

"We've got three home games left".

This results leaves the US Men's National Team in a prime position for qualifying to the 2018 World Cup.

"I thought in the second half we did a little bit better".

The Americans began their time together with a new coach and without any points in the CONCACAF standings. "Pretty stupid, if you ask me", Arena said humorously.

A draw in Panama completed a solid week of work for the United States on the road to Russian Federation. Things are looking up, and all it took was four points. Bruce Arena made his first obvious mistake as USA manager and put them together against Panama, and it didn't work.

Arena said from the start that these qualifiers were not a time for experimentation. "I'm sure it still means a lot to them".

Yet, even as Arena leaned on the veterans in the pool, he also gave hints at where he was taking the team during this cycle. From there he slipped a deft left-footed feed to Dempsey, who had an easy finish for his fourth goal in two games. After 120 minutes of World Cup qualifying within five days, coach Bruce Arena has a previously winless campaign back on track.

To be clear, the US still has some questions that need to be answered. Starting in 2010 under Bob Bradley, the central midfield duo has featured Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley. The team's discombobulated offense against Orlando, in particular, saw Bedoya fail to get on the ball with any regularity and contribute nearly no forward passes in the attacking third.

And then there was also this thought-provoking nugget from Arena's roundtable with reporters on Monday. I'd rather go with some of the young guys who are in form with their clubs. At one point, he absorbed two heavy tackles within a few minutes.

It suggests that the commitment issues, which dogged the team a year ago and that bubbled to the surface over the winter, haven't been completely solved. That's when the USA dropped a home game 1-2 to main rival Mexico and then followed that performance with a 0-4 away loss to Costa Rica.

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