Though it was another uneven showing from the Nats, their highs soared much higher than in Thursday's 0-0 tie. Just when the U.S. display threatened to follow the Wales script (energetic and dominant before the break, lethargic and disjointed after it), Gregg Berhalter's subs pushed the team back into top gear to break open the contest.
As a periodic reminder, grades are handed out on a scale with "6" as average. They are also relative to time played, meaning that a "7" earned over 90 minutes is more impressive than one earned for a 15-minute shift.
Zack Steffen (6) — The U.S. netminder had no chance on either Panama goal, and not a great amount to do the rest of the night. A strong punch and solid distribution wasn't quite enough to nudge his grade above average.
Reggie Cannon (7) — For the majority of the game, Cannon was the picture of solidity up and down the right side. He tilted the flank all night, won a spot kick and eventually notched a shrewd late assist after providing plenty of smart interplay in the final third. Unfortunately, he also neglected to close down the crosser on Panama's first goal and helped to keep Jose Fajardo in play on their second, flubs which pulled his grade back to Earth some.
Matt Miazga (5) — The Anderlecht center back was again strong on the ball (if not quite so much as Friday), but this time the most noteworthy episodes of his outing were defensive errors. Miazga flat lost Jose Fajardo on the Panama forward's first tally and was too busy begging for the offside flag on his second.
Tim Ream (6) — Like his partner, the "senior citizen" of tonight's lineup was also late to react to the situation on Panama's second. Apart from that, Ream moved the team out of the back fairly well.
Sergiño Dest (7) — Yes, he still misses a defensive beat here and there, but Dest is a constant headache for opponents when the U.S. are in build mode.
Tyler Adams (6.5) — The RB Leipzig man suffered a minor hiccup or two, but his mark was hurt most by the fact that the two midfielders directly in front of him were hogging all the work.
Weston McKennie (7.5) — One can already see the Juventus effect on the midfielder's game. He was everywhere in this one, covering ground and showing for the ball and guiding rushes and playing defense. Never mind that he didn't get on the score sheet; this is precisely the McKennie that Berhalter (and U.S. fans) want to see.
Yunus Musah (7) — While he needs to speed up and/or sharpen his final third decisions with the ball, let's remember that Musah is still just 17. There's plenty of time for all that to be shored up. For now, let's marvel at his motor, his confidence navigating through central park and his pluck in winning challenges, and hope he stays with the Red, White and Blue.
Ulysses Llanez (5.5) — The winger knows what he's doing out there, but was just a bit dull-edged in the key moments on this night.
Nicholas Gioacchini (7) — This grade is not just a byproduct of his two "make no mistake" finishes. For a guy typically known as a speed threat from the wide channels at Caen, I was most impressed to see Gioacchini demonstrate quite clearly an ability to execute the more physical duties of a center forward. I'll even forgive his ill-conceived spot kick attempt... well... mostly.
Giovanni Reyna (7) — The free kick goal was largely up to the Panama 'keeper's mistake, but hey, the kid ably took what was given. The better part of Reyna's night was the ease with which he calmly suckers defenders into taking a step away from where he wants to lead a teammate. He did it over and over, and looked far better than against Wales if only for that.
Coach Gregg Berhalter (7) — Gosh, the world looks a lot different when one fields an actual striker, huh? Berhalter again got a brilliant first half out of a team of players still getting to know each other, and this time he even coaxed a late surge out of them to put this "W" well out of reach.
Timothy Weah (6.5) — For the first half of his 28-minute shift, Weah looked like a guy still trying to find sharpness after a long battle with injuries. In the waning moments, though, he looked a lot more like the dangerous speedster we know.
Johnny Cardoso (6) — Once again, there were a couple of nervy moments with the ball, but the defensive midfielder shows some destroying promise.
Richie Ledezma (7) — The PSV Eindhoven attacker looked a little hesitant at first, but eventually got comfy enough in his USMNT debut to whip in a pair of pinpoint crosses for the next guy listed.
Sebastian Soto (7) — The debutant striker's first final third action was clumsy, but all is quickly forgiven after he twice obliged Ledezma's service with a strong run-and-finish.
Sebastian Lletget (7) — The LA Galaxy midfielder (properly cast this time) offered some excellent release passing and a nifty short-side header in his quarter-hour of work.
Chris Richards (6) — There wasn't much for the night's last debutant to do, but he didn't look out of place.