US Player Ratings: Howard, Ream, Pulisic lead on nervy night in Panama

In a game where the result slightly outshined the performance, the US national team battled CONCACAF hexagonal hosts Panama to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night.

In a stark departure from Friday's schooling of Honduras, the visitors spent most of the match in awkward shapes, especially when in possession. However, Christian Pulisic and Clint Dempsey combined for another highlight-reel goal to earn the US an important away point.

Tim Howard (7) - The Colorado Rapids netminder did well to snuff a good Luis Tejada chance near the hour in making the best of his three saves on the night. Some observers may bark that Howard was glued to his line too long on the Panama goal, but it says here that there's really not much he can do when the defense flakes in that manner. 

Graham Zusi (5) - The newly-converted right back definitely had some troubles with Alberto Quintero, but did handle matters more solidly as the game progressed. Surprisingly, Zusi only completed a single positive pass in the attack end over 90 minutes.

Omar Gonzalez (6) - It was a decent but unspectacular outing for the Pachuca man, who had less to do than his back line mates. Gonzalez was found hoofing the ball away a bit too often, but did manage to connect a handful of long passes into the Panama half.

Tim Ream (7) - Were it not for his costly flub dealing with Adolfo Machado's long throw on the home side's goal, Ream would be the clear man of the match for the US. With that one glaring exception, he was excellent. Pressed in to duty on short notice, the Fulham defender registered 15 clearances and a big shot block. 

Jorge Villafaña (5) - As with Ream, Villafaña's worst episode happened on the Panama tally. He fell asleep just long enough for Gabriel Gomez to squirt free and pounce on the loose ball. Other than that error, he was fine.

Michael Bradley (5.5) - The captain didn't make many mistakes on the night, but he also didn't exert much influence over the proceedings. His passing game and defensive work improved after a bland first half, but it was still too easy for Panama to travel through the middle.

Jermaine Jones (5.5) - Of course, part of the reason Panama had lanes to drive down central was that Jones also likes to travel. He was also typically strong defensively in one-v-one battles, sticking his foot in to halt some rushes. The LA Galaxy veteran was only sparingly useful on the ball, but it was his clever pass that released Pulisic on the US goal play. 

Christian Pulisic (6.5) - The Borussia Dortmund wunderkind was repeatedly frustrated by Panama's physical play. Still, attackers only need that one big play to make the grade, and Pulisic's was a doozy. He got loose to hypnotize two defenders on his way to teeing up Dempsey for an easy equalizer.

Darlington Nagbe (6) - The Portland ace was an effective pressure valve, albeit one that tended to hold the ball too long after wiggling into the Panama end. Unlike in their previous games together, Nagbe didn't connect so well with Villafaña up the flank.

Clint Dempsey (6.5) - The man they call Deuce had one terrific lead pass to spring Pulisic, but other than that failed to get much going until he bagged the US goal. In a tight CONCACAF away tussle,  though, one play is enough to make a difference.

Jozy Altidore (5.5) - Due to the team's disorganized play on the ball, Altidore was effectively turned into an innocent bystander. He didn't get a touch in the final third until shortly before he departed on 83 minutes, and had just five in the Panama end all game long.

Coach Bruce Arena (6) - Considering the boss kept losing starters right up to game time, it's hard to be too judgmental. That said, the team's shape was a mess for much of the game and the great alteration never came. Were it not for Pulisic's moment of magic, this could easily have been an annoying defeat. On the other hand, the team could have grabbed a huge win if the set piece defense didn't bungle Machado's long throw.  We'll call this one even.

Subs:

Alejandro Bedoya (6) - The Philly Union attacker worked both wings in his 21 minutes, and as often is the case, the team ran smoother when he was on the field.

Kellyn Acosta (6) - The FC Dallas midfielder looked lively off the bench.

Paul Arriola (6) - The late sub entered ready to ask questions of the Panama defense.

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