Following a 3-2 loss against Chile in Chile, the United States Men's National Team will be looking to get back on track when they host Panama at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. This U.S. side hasn't won a game in five months, and they have lost three straight games after that defeat in Chile. On the eve of the match, it's clear that for the American players, the outcome of this particular friendly matters a little bit more than it normally would.
Not only is it a match that will play a huge role in deciding the final roster for both countries in the CONCACAF Gold Cup later in the summer, but every time the United States plays Panama, it is always a good match. Panama's last win against the Americans was in the group stage of the 2011 Gold Cup, however the U.S. came out on top when these two sides met in the 2013 Gold Cup Final. This is the first meeting between the two teams since Jurgen Klinsmann's squad scored two late goals to shock the hosts in an October 2013 World Cup qualifier, crushing Panama's dreams of reaching Brazil 2014 and playing on the global stage for the first time.
In team news FC Dallas captain Matt Hedges, who was only called in after veteran Brad Evans was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury, is just hoping to see the field. One player who could make his first U.S. start tomorrow is the LA Galaxy's Gyasi Zardes, who has impressed all throughout January camp by all accounts. Whatever the result may be, it should be a good test for all players on both sides.
In comments to Goal.com, Klinsmann said this in preparation for Sunday's match. "They have a very competitive group here, and they obviously -- probably -- have a little bit still in their stomach to forget this day that really was a disaster for them. It will be a good test for us at this very early stage of our season."