Nicholas Gioacchini, Sebastian Soto Score 2 Goals Each as US Routs Panama 6-2
US beat Panama (Photo Credit: AP)
Nicholas Gioacchini and Sebastian Soto both scored their first two international goals, Gio Reyna got his first and a young United States team routed Panama 6-2 Monday night in an exhibition at Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Gioacchini and Reyna made their first appearances Thursday in a 0-0 draw at Wales, among six debuts as the Americans returned from a coronavirus break that had sidelined the team since February. Soto and Richy Ledezma were among two more debuts against the Panamanians.
Sebastian Lletget, like Soto a second-half substitute, also scored late for the Americans. Ledezma assisted on the final goal.
Jos Fajardo scored his first two goals for Panama, the first in the eighth minute with a glancing header following a cross by Alejandro Yearwood that split central defenders Tim Ream and Matt Miazga. Fajardo cut the gap to 3-2 in the 79th minute.
The U.S. dominated the first half with 72 per cent possession but struggled to create for much of the second half before three late goals.
Reyna tied the score in the 17th minute with a 19-yard free kick, a one-hopper that went to the left of debuting goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera after Weston McKennie was tripped by Michael Murillo.
Gioacchini put the U.S. ahead in the 22nd minute with a right-footed shot from 8 yards after Reyna crossed to Uly llanez, whose 12-yard shot was spoiled by the keeper.
Gioacchini got his second on a short-range diving header in the 26th after Tyler Adams crossed and Miazga headed the ball back across the goalmouth. He had a chance for a hat trick in the 65th following a hand ball on scar Linton, but Mosquera stopped his penalty.
Soto entered in the 77th minute and scored on a 6-yard header from a cross by Sebastian Lletget following an overlapping run by Reggie Cannon, who started at right back as Sergio Dest moved to the left. Cannon crossed again for Lletgets short header in the 87th, his third international goal, and Ledezma had a long, looping cross for Soto in the first minute of stoppage time.
A pair of 20-year-olds made debuts. Ledezma, an PSV Eindhoven midfielder, replaced Reyna in the 68th, and Soto, a Telstar forward, came in for Gioacchini. The U.S. has used 90 players since the October 2017 defeat at Trinidad and Tobago that eliminated the Americans from the 2018 World Cup, including 52 debuting.
Preparing for the pandemic-delayed start of World Cup qualifying next September, the U.S. started a lineup averaging 12 appearances and 22 years, 154 days, the second-youngest American lineup behind an average of 22 years, 71 days for an exhibition at Italy on Nov. 20, 2018.
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said Monday the U.S. may schedule another match next month, which presumably would be with players mostly from Major League Soccer.
Panama made its first World Cup appearance two years ago but faces a first-round qualifying group that starts in March where it plays Anguilla, Barbados, Dominica and the Dominican Republic. The Panamanians changed eight starters from the lineup that opened last weeks 1-0 loss to Japan in Graz, Austria.