The US men's national team suffered a 1-0 defeat Sunday against Panama in an Octagonal matchup at Estadio Rommel Fernández, allowing a second-half game-winner from Nashville SC midfielder Anibal Godoy in Concacaf World Cup Qualifying.
The match was scoreless through the halftime break, with the US struggling to maintain possession, conceding most of the substantive chances to the hosts – a recurring theme throughout the evening. If not for some more stalwart goalkeeping from New England Revolution backstop Matt Turner, the Yanks could have entered the locker room in at least a 1-0 deficit.
The Panamanians finally made the US pay, finding the opener and eventual game-winner on 54 minutes courtesy of a header from Godoy off a corner kick that took a deflection off Gyasi Zardes before settling into the net, allowing the hosts to claim the second-half lead they'd never relinquish.
The US searched for an equalizer in the aftermath, with head coach Gregg Berhalter deploying a trio of substitutes that included FC Dallas forward Ricardo Pepi in pursuit of an equalizer that could have salvaged a road point. But the Panamanians held firm, keeping the US on eight points in the Octagonal table through five matches ahead of a return home against Costa Rica on October 13.
It's a huge victory for Panama, meanwhile, which got their first-ever victory over the US in World Cup Qualifying and vaulted up to third place in the standings with the result.
- 54' - PAN - Anibal Godoy
- THE BIG PICTURE: It was an anemic performance from the USMNT coming off their 2-0 win over Jamaica, as the Yanks ended the contest having never registered a shot on goal and getting outdueled 46-38. Qualifying is a marathon, not a sprint, and there's plenty of matches to right the ship. That said, this result should serve as a reality check to ensure a more cohesive performance while chasing a Qatar 2022 spot.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Godoy's goal was the decisive moment here, giving the hosts a deserved lead that never slipped from their grasp.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Godoy is a key cog for Nashville and he shined bright for his country in this one. Aside from scoring, the MLS veteran also compiled an active defensive shift before subbing off in the second half.
- USA: Wednesday, October 13 vs. Costa Rica | 7 pm ET (ESPN2, UniMás and TUDN)
- PAN: Wednesday, October 13 at Canada | 7:30 pm ET (Paramount+)