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FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: USA v Panama

Tim Howard is hoping a raucous Seattle crowd can inspire the USA to victory in their FIFA World Cup qualifier with Panama on Wednesday.

America secured a crucial injury-time winner against Jamaica on Friday, with Brad Evans’ strike securing all three points.

A win over Panama would ensure Juergen Klinsmann’s side stay at least joint-top of the CONCACAF qualifying group along with Costa Rica, who currently lead by virtue of their superior goal difference.
And Everton goalkeeper Howard is sure they will receive great backing from their home fans when they take to the CenturyLink pitch.
“It’s a special place,” Howard said.
“And I think inside the stadium, it goes without saying, their crowd, it seems electric for the (Seattle) Sounders games.
“We’re hoping that they’ll come out and support us in the same way, we have no doubt they will and we think it will be an amazing atmosphere.”
The game will see grass placed over artificial turf at the stadium, a move that has proved contentious among some members of the USA squad.
But Sounders midfielder Evans is confident they will be suitably prepared for the match.
“We’ve seen it before in a lot of friendlies, so the grass is something new but not something totally out of the norm I guess,” he commented.
“For a lot of friendlies we’ve had grass so we’ll see how it plays today, get a couple of good training sessions on it. And it should be good for Tuesday night.”
The USA head into the fixture in good form, having won five of their last seven qualifying fixtures, stretching back to the semi-final round of qualifiers.
They defeated their opponents 1-0 in their last meeting in January 2012, but Panama have a history of causing an upset against America, earning a 2-1 win in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Victory for the visitors would see them move into an automatic qualifying position for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Tue 11 June, 2013
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