USMNT 6, Panama 2 | 2020 International Friendly Recap
The US men's national team exploded for six goals, getting braces from Nicolas Gioacchini and Sebastian Soto and the first international goal for Gio Reyna on their way to a 6-2 blowout victory in their Monday friendly against Panama.
The match got off to an inauspicious start for the Yanks, as Panama scored the opener just eight minutes after kickoff courtesy of a headed finish from Jose Fajardo.
But the US would roar back in impressive fashion, with Reyna kicking off a three-goal barrage with an 18th-minute free-kick finish for the Borussia Dortmund midfielder's first senior team goal. The US then jumped on top just four minutes later, as Reyna laid the ball off to Ulysses Llanez for a shot on goal that was initially saved by the Panama goalkeeper, but cleaned up with a rebound finish on the doorstep by Gioacchini.
The US capped off the first-half onslaught in the 26th minute with some nifty build-up play that started with Tyler Adams sending in a through ball that Weston McKennie managed to run down and cross just before it went out of play. Matt Miazga headed the ball back across goal into the path of Gioacchini and the forward threw his full body into a close-range header that found the back of the net and put the Yanks up 3-1.
Gioacchini had a golden opportunity for a hat trick in the second half, as Reggie Cannon drew a 65th-minute penalty kick, but the 20-year-old striker had his attempt from the spot saved, and it almost proved consequential as Fajardo rifled home a well-taken left-footed finish in the 78th minute to cap off his brace and cut the USMNT's lead to 3-2.
But Soto would ensure it would be a moot point, as the 20-year-old headed home the dagger in the 83rd minute off a pinpoint cross from fellow second-half substitute Richie Ledezma, before Sebastian Lletget flicked home a near-post header off a feed from Cannon in the 87th.
Soto then capped off the late barrage with another headed finish just before the final whistle to round out the 6-2 final.
- 8' - PAN - Jose Fajardo | WATCH
- 18' - USA - Gio Reyna | WATCH
- 22' - USA - Nicolas Gioacchini | WATCH
- 26' - USA - Nicolas Gioacchini | WATCH
- 79' - PAN - Jose Fajardo | WATCH
- 83' - USA - Sebastian Soto | WATCH
- 87' - USA - Sebastian Lletget | WATCH
- 90+1 - USA - Sebastian Soto | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Coming off their 0-0 draw against Wales that saw the US generate just one shot on goal, head coach Gregg Berhalter said that the biggest thing he was looking for was a better showing on the attacking end. The Yanks certainly got that, with the three-goal outburst in the first half highlighting a much more fluid performance that saw them generate plenty of chances and pour it on emphatically with the trio of late finishes. Seeing young faces like Reyna, Gioacchini and Soto open their accounts against the type of Concacaf opponent they'll have to battle with great frequency can certainly be considered a positive sign moving forward.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: US fans have been waiting eagerly for Reyna to get his chance with the senior team, as he's turned plenty of heads with his play over at Borussia Dortmund. This goal in the 18th minute showed why he's such a highly-touted prospect.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Gioacchini, Reyna and Soto had the goals, but Yunus Musah put in another standout shift in the midfield. It might be time to start the hype train around the 17-year-old Valencia midfielder, as he very much appears to be the real deal.