The costs of an attacker are often in the eyes of the beholder. An explosion at a distance of 30 meters counts as much as a box of two meters, although the former often makes the hearts of the fans beat faster.
The value of both types of goals – not to mention the link between the game and the press – is there, but the American men’s team was grateful to Nicholas Gioakini and Sebastian Soto for scoring two small goals in Monday’s 6-2 friendly against Panama.
After the 0-0 tie against Wales last Friday, the game of striker – and in fact not playing with any of them because of the use of a false nine – was one of the main points of discussion. The United States dominate the possession, but have little chance to attack, especially in the box. Faced with the rebuilt Panamanian side, manager Gregg Berhalter decided to take a more uniform approach and gave Joaquini his first steps.
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You could say he was a little scared, Berhalter said about Joaquini. It was my job to trust him and tell him he’s good enough, and he showed it tonight.
The Caen striker did not hit the ball very often, only 18 strikes in 77 minutes. But he was in the right place when it came to taking action, and he brought the United States to the top of the table after the impact in the 22nd minute. Minute with 2:1 for good, and after the tablecloth another four minutes.
I had a week I will never, ever forget, Joaquini said afterwards. At the same time, he also criticized his own performance, including a penalty that saved Panamanian goalkeeper Orlando Mosker.
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My first impression, which I don’t think is bad, is that it went on. But I could make myself more accessible to midfielders, even to central defenders. I still had places in the pits where I felt I had to be five steps or even two steps ahead. So you know it’s always something to check and remember. But these two goals are not easy for everyone.
Soto remembered that day when he got off the bench and scored two goals. He has proven his mobility and agility by staying in the right places.
The play of both players suggests that the depth of the attacker’s position may be slightly greater than originally thought, although the context is necessary. Mosquera looked very reluctantly at his international debut. It also seems unlikely that any of the strikers will pass by Josh Sargent, Gyachi Zardes or Josie Altidor. Still, the impression left by both players is positive.
It was a good performance for me [Soto and Gioacchini], said Berhalter. But this is important. When we talked last week about the potentially deep offensive map and limiting the leading position, you have to seize every opportunity and these guys did a good job.
While the vanguard delivered it, the team as a whole was full of sparkling play and some instructive moments. It was great with Berhalter, who was happy to see how his young team is influenced by the way the game can be played against Concaf’s opponents.
It was a very difficult game, a very physical game, more physical than the game in Wales, said Berhalter. We needed this. The boys needed it. We had guys handing out the sheets. It won’t be a violation. We have to play.
Fault! The file name is not specified. American striker Nicolas Gioakini gives the ball through the Panama defense in a friendly game in Austria. AP Images
The USA started the game almost asleep and without any defensive concentration, only to wake up Jose Fajardo, who gave the Canaleros a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute. The United States quickly took control of the situation in midfield and scored three goals in eight minutes. The youngest of the boys, Gio Reyna, scored his first international goal with a free kick from Yunus Moussa.
In the second half, the U.S. returned to sleep mode, while Panama snored with intensity and physical play. Weston McKenney had a great night, but he was lucky to stay on the field with a two-meter grip on the Panamanian Gaby Torres, who only got a yellow card. When Fajardo was in ’79. When the team enters the second minute of the game with good practice, the question arises whether the team can watch the game with a large number of beginners on the field. They succeeded, and Richie Ledesma helped Soto and Sebastian Lletget reach their goal.
That was the period I was most interested in, Berhalter said. I was very interested to see where we could hold on or where we could be patient. And not only did we persevere, but in the end we retreated and scored a few goals, so I was happy with the game.
Probably the biggest exit from this international window was the match of the American central midfielder. Again, Tyler Adams, McKenny and Moose sparkled. The challenge now is to convince Musa to stay in the United States for a long time. The last two speeches have not brought him in contact with the United States, and England has made it clear that it does not intend to let Musa go without a fight. However, the U.S. succeeded in handing out the first blow, so that Musa in any case takes its capacities into consideration.
I was very happy with Yunus’ performance, I was very happy with him in camp. The boys have been very good to him, Berhalter said.
The only thing I’ve ever said about actors in this category is that we just want to create an environment where they can be sure that it’s a good environment for their development. And it looked like it was with Yunus. He seems to see us as a path that we will continue to develop and play with a good young band. But in the end, it’s up to him and his family to decide.
In the United States things are already going better, if you look at the way young players get a foothold in their clubs. When Musa goes to the United States, the feeling only gets stronger.