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The Hexagonal

13 100-Word Predictions: United States vs. Panama

You know the drill: We ask pundits and experts and soccer maniacs to make a prediction in 100 words or less. Then, we ask you to do the same in the Comments section.
BY All Sorts Posted
June 10, 2013
8:11 PM
Paul Kennedy
Editor in Chief, Soccer America
The U.S. will remain perfect at home in World Cup 2014 qualifying with a 2-0 win over Panama. Bolstered by the Seattle fans, Klinsi's crew puts the pressure on the Canaleros early. Sounders fans won't recognize Eddie Johnson out on the right wing but he delights them with the first goal. Down to as few as zero MLS players on the field nine months ago—second half against Jamaica—the national team rewards MLS's hotbed with strong games from both Sounders starters on the right side, EJ & Kingston hero Brad Evans, and all four starters from MLS clubs for that matter.

Lindsey Pehrson
ASN Contributor and freelance writer
It’s easy to get caught up in all of the talk concerning the pitch at Century Link Field, but I think the U.S. has the capability of winning this match now more than ever, with the team’s confidence at a high after the result against Jamaica. Panama’s Blas Perez being out for this match is surely a boost for the U.S., too. That being said, this won't be a walk in the park. Zusi won’t be around to contribute to the attack and it’s bound to be scrappy, but I think the U.S. will come away with a 2-0 win. Deuce and Altidore net the goals. And, despite his lackluster performance against Belgium, I’m hoping to see Geoff Cameron fill in for Jones.

Jared DuBois
Co-Host, Best Soccer Show
"Just the tip." When looking at a map it's one way to describe the location of Panama. Another would be, it's the feather that tickles South America. Yet both interpretations belie the fact that this country was one of the up and coming nations of CONCACAF during the last cycle. Furthermore the team has shown it can give the U.S. problems, as the Yanks lost to Panama in the 2011 Gold Cup group stage. The loss of Blaz Perez will be huge—especially with the U.S.'s young CB tandem looking unsure. I think Geoff Cameron and Eddie Johnson come in for Jermaine Jones and Graham Zusi.

Noah Davis
Deputy Editor, American Soccer Now
Part of me wants to say a 1-1 tie, the result of the bad field, an inevitable letdown after Jamaica, and the absence of Graham Zusi. But no Blas Perez, a strong home crowd, and the U.S.'s increasing ability to create will mean a 2-0 win for the Americans. Give the goals to Michael Bradley, who is due, and Omar Gonzalez, who is huge. Set pieces, set pieces, set pieces, and on to Rio Tinto.

Phil Schoen
Commentator, beIN SPORT
The comeback win in Jamaica felt like Nirvana, but a loss in Seattle against Panama will make it look like a mirage. Graham Zusi and Jermaine Jones were arguably the best players over the last two games but both will be missing Tuesday night. More questions arise about Jurgen Klinsmann's roster decisions, but they're tempered by Brad Evans' recent heroics. My guess is Eddie Johnson will get the start but the crosses that Zusi provided to Jozy Altidore will have to come from elsewhere, so Brad Davis should have a role, even if it's off the bench. US 1, Panama 0.

Mark Fishkin
Co-Host, the Seeing Red podcast
The U.S. is surely elated after its late winner at Jamaica, but it has to be concerned with its play over the last 10 minutes and the set-piece goal conceded at The Office. While the Yanks have the talent to win against an improving Panama, the choppy field at C-Link may erode some of the U.S.’s home field advantage. Figure Cameron for Jones and Corona for Zusi shifts the primary attack from the right side to the left, and through Fabian Johnson and Clint Dempsey. Dempsey will surely have to show more than he did at Jamaica for the U.S. to win. I think he will. Prediction: 2-0 to the U.S.

Korey Donahoo
President, American Outlaws
Anyone who poo-poos our result in Jamaica should check themselves, as it is a very hard place to go to and get a win (see our never having won there, and Mexico just getting its first win there, I think). Getting gutsy/gritty performances away in CONCACAF is the recipe for success in qualifying, and I'm very pleased. Hoping we can ride that momentum through Tuesday and avoid the mentality of the hard work being done. We will also be missing key players in Jones and Zusi, but this pessimist still feels confident our boys will bag three points.

Eric Beard
Soccer Writer
It feels like the man of the match for U.S. fans is already gastroenteritis, but just because Blas Pérez isn't playing doesn't mean it will be an easy win. Jermaine Jones shouldn't play on Tuesday, so Michael Bradley needs a new partner in Seattle. If Jurgen chooses him, this could be Kljestan's defining game with the Stars and Stripes. Not only that, this should be the game that truly showcases the Klinsmann philosophy. The chance to control a match is one that must be taken, and anything less than getting three points and having the run of play is unacceptable.

Charles Boehm
Editor and Senior Writer, SoccerWire.com
After almost two years of fits, starts, and wildly inconsistent performances from game to game, the U.S. national team finally has a bit of momentum in its pockets—a three-game unbeaten streak in Hexagonal play heading into two “should-win” home games. That's hardly a guarantee of three points against Panama in Seattle, however. Los Canaleros will sit deep and hit the Yanks on the break, an approach which could punish Jurgen Klinsmann if he chooses his replacements for Jermaine Jones and Graham Zusi unwisely. A dodgy surface and poor finishing will make it nervy but I see a close-run 2-1 U.S. win.

Jon Arnold
Contributing Editor, American Soccer Now
Panama is sort of a reverse Jamaica. Center backs Felipe Baloy and Roman Torres are studly, and despite a keeper change, have kept a clean sheet in two consecutive Hex matches. The attack has been brought to its knees a bit with Blas Perez absent from a team that already failed to score against Mexico. Like the Jamaica match, three points are there for the Red, White, and Blue’s taking, and Jurgen Klinsmann’s men should get the job done.

Brian Sciaretta
Soccer Writer, Finder of Obscure Americans
After a successful trip to Kingston, the United States will be returning home with momentum to soccer-mad Seattle to face a Panamanian team without Blas Perez. That alone should be enough to give the U.S. team an edge. Still without Jermaine Jones and Graham Zusi, Klinsmann will have to make adjustments. The absence of Zusi will likely leave many fans wishing for Donovan - and for good reason as Donovan scored a brilliant goal on Saturday. Despite missing key players, I think the U.S team gets by and wins 2-1.

Daryl Grove
Co-Host, Total Soccer Show
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this will be easy. Panama is still unbeaten in the Hex, and with its compact midfield, Michael Bradley may lack space to orchestrate proceedings as he’d like to. The U.S. will miss that sweet Zusi-to-Jozy hook-up too. So, with the exception of Brad Evan’s face, this won’t be pretty. But I’m still predicting a scrappy 1-0 win, Eddie Johnson bursting behind Panama’s defense to score the winner in front of the Seattle crowd.

John Godfrey
Editor in Chief, American Soccer Now
Go home and go big. Buoyed by the partisan Seattle crowd and smelling blood in the Sound, the Yanks, Orca-like, will be merciless on Tuesday night. Altidore scores. Dempsey does it. Gonzalez? Goal. And in the longest of shots, Holden gets in on the action in garbage time. United States 4, Panama 1. Afterward, in the press conference, Jurgen Klinsmann "gives a big compliment" to la Marea Roja despite administering a humiliating beatdown.

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