USMNT Starting XI Prediction vs Panama (WCQ)


In the penultimate round of matches in the epic CONCACAF Final World Cup qualifying round dubbed ‘The Octagonal’, we are focusing on the second place USMNT who host fifth-place Panama in Orlando this Sunday.

The United States can actually confirm qualification for the big dance in Qatar this November. There are a few different scenarios that see the red, white, and blue competing in the World Cup finals this year. I’ll share the most likely scenarios that see that happening.

What Happens If?…

If the USA clinches a victory against Panama and fourth place Costa Rica cannot win at Ecuador, USMNT stamps their ticket to the Middle East for the biggest sporting tournament in the world. For what it’s worth, this is the most likely scenario. If the United States can only manage a draw in Orlando against Panama, they will still qualify as long as Costa Rica loses in Ecuador. A draw for the Stars and Stripes will give them a four-point lead over Los Ticos in fourth and a five-point lead over Panama in fifth.

An unassailable lead. If the USMNT loses, all bets are off. They will be in real danger of having to go through the playoff route to book their tickets to the FIFA World Cup this year. A scenario they will absolutely want to avoid.

USMNT vs Panama

When is it? Sunday, 27 May 2022 7 PM (EST).

Where is it? Exploria Stadium, Orlando.

Who’s in form? USMNT (WWLWD) Panama (DLWLD)

What are the odds? USMNT(-260) Panama (+650) Draw (+350)

How to watch? TV: CBSSN, Univision, TUDN.

                          Streaming: Paramount+, TUDN

After Extra Time Podcast: Spotify  Apple Podcasts

Team News: go here

Starting XI Prediction

Here’s how the USMNT might line up in front of their home fans for the last time in this qualifying campaign.

The goalkeeping situation sorts itself out. It’s not ideal that Matt Turner will miss this one via injury, but Zack Steffen is a more than capable understudy. Let’s not forget he is coming off keeping a clean sheet at the Azteca Stadium against Mexico.

In defense, I am only predicting one change. That is in the right-back position. And there’s a big COVID cloud hanging over the likelihood of this switch. Of course, I am talking about Reggie Cannon coming in for DeAndre Yedlin.

If he can get cleared from the COVID positive test that left him out of the Mexico match, I think he will start. He offers a little more going forwards for the national team setup than Yedlin does.

The rest of the back-line stays the same with Antonee Robinson, Walker Zimmerman, and Miles Robinson taking up their usual posts. In the midfield, Tyler Adams will wear the captain’s armband yet again as he zeros in on 10 occasions where he has led his national team. Kellyn Acosta barely put a foot wrong versus Mexico, therefore he keeps his place alongside Adams.

Yunus Musah keeps his starting berth, too.

In attack, Tim Weah and Christian Pulisic will line up on either wing. Centrally, I am going with a change in personnel. Ricardo Pepi has not been impressive as the focal point for the USA in recent appearances. Before you say anything, I know Jordan Pefok missed the best chance to score versus Mexico. I am going with him, anyway.

His club form this season has earned him this opportunity at the very least. So that’s my case for picking the Young Boys’ striker to start here.  

Stuey Predicts

The pressure will be on for the Stars and Stripes against Panama. I don’t think there is any reason to worry. Team USA should easily account for Los Canaleros and book their place in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar this year. USMNT 3-1

Stuart Kavanagh is an up-and-coming sports journalist from Melbourne, Australia. Along with being the owner of the sports and entertainment website, he is also the co-host of the ‘After Extra Time’ podcast. Football mad, he is always down for debate and discussion at @stueyissickofit on Twitter.


  1. Man in the mirror says

    First off, it’s El Salvador. Second, Pefok won’t be the starter after blowing such a goal and doing nothing else the entire time. Weah is out with yellow card accumulation. Reggie canon has Covid. And there is now at Reyna isn’t starting. Come on, man. Lazy reporting.

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