The United States won a close game that went down to the death against Jamaica last week, but now they face a different animal in Panama. Prior to Friday, they were ahead of the States in the CONCACAF Hex standings, but after a home draw with Mexico, they're now holding down the fourth-place playoff spot. The U.S. is in second place with a game in hand on third-placed Mexico.
The win was important, but it was still unsettling to see the Yanks give up such a soft goal in the final minutes, a goal that nearly cost them two points. It was another missed defensive assignment, this time on a free kick, and while the goal may have been offside, that doesn't excuse someone leaving Jermaine Beckford totally unmarked in the box.
The Nats will be without the services of Jermaine Jones (concussion) and Graham Zusi (suspension) for this match. Geoff Cameron seems to be the odds-on favorite to replace Jones in the lineup, as he has extensive experience in defensive midfield. Replacing Zusi will be harder, but Herculez Gomez and Eddie Johnson are both familiar options.
Here are some preview pieces you all ought to take a look at:
The Shin Guardian's usual preview is excellent, and features a quote that I got for them.
Stars and Stripes FC has a wealth of preview coverage, so check that out.
Sounder at Heart also has extensive coverage of the match, since its in their backyard.