United States could move into World Cup position with win at Panama
The United States could move into position to qualify for the 2018 World Cup if it wins away against Panama on Tuesday.
After losing its first two matches in the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying, the U.S. responded with a 6-0 victory over Honduras on Friday that propelled it into fourth place in the table, one point behind Panama.
Should the U.S. defeat Panama, its chances of advancing to the World Cup, to be held in Russia, will rise from 78 percent to 93 percent, according to ESPN's Soccer Power Index.
It is 12-1-4 all-time against Panama, including 5-0-1 in World Cup qualifying, and has won three of its four away games.
After missing seven months because of an irregular heartbeat, Clint Dempsey returned to score a hat trick against Honduras, giving him 55 international goals and leaving him two behind Landon Donovan for the U.S. record.
That performance on Friday also gave him 17 goals in World Cup qualifying, moving him past Jozy Altidore for the most in team history.
Panama has never qualified to play in the World Cup and opened the Hexagonal stage of qualifying with a victory against Honduras, a draw to Mexico and a loss away against Trinidad & Tobago on Friday.
The top three teams in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying will advance to the World Cup, with the fourth facing the fifth-place finisher in the Asia region for a spot.
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