All of the soccer over the last three weeks has come down to this.
USA. Panama. Soldier Field, Chicago. Winner is regional champion for two years and is that much closer to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. Loser gets to be runner-up.
USA LINEUP (4-2-3-1): Nick Rimando; Michael Parkhurst, Clarence Goodson, Matt Belser, DaMarcus Beasley [C]; Kyle Beckerman, Stuart Holden; Alejandro Bedoya, Landon Donovan, Joe Corona; Eddie Johnson.
PANAMA LINEUP (4-4-2): Penedo; Parris, R. Torres [C], Chen, Rodriguez; Sanchez, Godoy, Gomez, Quintero; Perez, G. Torres.
The only changes from midweek vs. Honduras are Holden for Mix Diskerud and Corona for Jose Torres in the midfield.
Eddie Johnson gets the nod up front ahead of Chris Wondolowski, with Donovan is support in the midfield. Bedoya, coming off a great game in the semifinal will man the flank with Corona as both players look to make an impact with the US in the upcoming qualifiers. Holden and Beckerman will man the two deep midfield spots in front of the same backline that has been featured throughout most of the Gold Cup. Omar Gonzalez, Belser's partner in the center of the defense during The Hex wasn't able to displace Goodson, who's been playing well.
Panama's lineup doesn't feature too many surprises, and the US backline should have their hands full of their two strikers, FC Dallas' Blas Perez and new Colorado Rapids DP Gabriel Torres. Jaime Penedo has been a rock in net, and the USA will have to be at the top of their game in order to break down the Panamanian defense.
Well, we're minutes away from kickoff. I'll be covering all the action throughout the night so feel free to add your input in the comments below.