USMNT look to stay perfect at Copa America 2024 vs. Panama in Group C play

Christian Pulisic USMNT
Jun 23, 2024; Arlington, TX, USA; United States forward Christian Pulisic (10) in action during the game between the United States and Bolivia in a 2024 Copa America match at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The United States men’s national team (USMNT) looks to keep a perfect start to Copa America 2024 and like punch their ticket to the quarterfinals on Thursday night in Atlanta against Panama.

They made simple work against Bolivia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, on Sunday thanks to a third-minute goal by Christian Pulisic and a finisher one minute before halftime by Folarin Balogun. But the challenges only grow stiffer at Copa America and Panama provides an incremental step up.

This is a shorthanded Panamanian team, ranked 43rd in the world (Bolivia was 85th), that the United States will face. Their captain and midfielder Anibal Godoy was a late scratch for the tournament because of a left thigh injury. The man that manager Thomas Christiansen selected to replace, defender Harold Cummings, declined the invitation, so Panama has a 25-man roster rather than 26.

They lost 3-1 to Uruguay — the biggest threat to the US — in their Group C opener in which they were doubled up on shot attempts 20-10. 

On paper, the Americans should control the match just as they did on Sunday against Bolivia in which they bossed 61% of possession and had 20 shot attempts compared to their opponents’ six. Those are the expectations when a team that is imploring that they are capable of deep runs at major tournaments faces a team ranked this low. 

The problem is that Panama has given the United States some issues recently, including a semifinal upset at the Gold Cup last summer and a 2022 World Cup qualifying upset in Oct. 2021.

Manager Gregg Berhalter and his side need to be past such bobbles against inferior continental opponents, but three points are vital in establishing a place in the next round of the competition with Uruguay looming in the group finale. The South Americans are ranked 14th in the world and are teeming with world-class talent and going into that match on shaky ground will ramp up the pressure significantly. 

USMNT vs. Panama viewing information, odds

  • Date: Thursday, June 27
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • Location: Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
  • Panama to win: +800
  • USMNT to win: -275
  • Draw: +400

Odds courtesy of DraftKings. For more, click here.

For more on USMNT and Copa America 2024, visit AMNY.com