Not since the turn of the 20th century has the US plowed through Panama the way it did tonight. Needing a win to advance to the final regional round, the US team romped to a 6-0 win at RFK Stadium tonight. Wearing the captain’s armband, San Jose midfielder Landon Donovan scored the first two goals. Eddie Johnson, who plays for the Dallas Burn, came in at the 75th minute and managed to score a natural hat trick in only his second appearance with the senior national team. An own goal in the closing minutes ended the goal fest.
Save for some sloppy play after its first goal in the 20th minute of the first half and in the opoening minutes of the second half, the US managed to control possesion and trouble the Panamanian defense without relenting. Panama looked dangerous only on two occassions, forcing US Goalkeeper to make saves on a long range shot and a curling free kick.
The win qualifies the USA for the six team final round with one home games left to play. Coach Bruce Arena will have the freedom to bring in and test some new faces in its final home game against Jamaica. This final round will decide the three teams that will represent North & Central America and the Caribbean in the 2006 World Cup.