Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Panama v United States: Turner says results everything for Copa America hosts

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Jun 2024

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United States goalkeeper Matt Turner has urged fans of the Copa America hosts not to forget the value of results ahead of Thursday’s clash with Panama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The USA got their Group C campaign up and running with a 2-0 win over Bolivia, with Christian Pulisic and Folarin Balogun on target.

Some believed Gregg Berhalter’s side should have recorded a more comprehensive victory as they racked up 20 shots on goal to Bolivia’s six.

Nottingham Forest shot-stopper Turner, though, says tournament wins should not be taken for granted.

“We’ll never have that luxury. I think you take wins when you can get wins, no matter the context,” Turner said.

“You take the result, especially in tournament play, it’s the end all be all. I implore people to not lose sight of that.

“Obviously, we wish we did some things better, but that’s what tournaments are about. You want to improve and get better throughout the tournament and keep growing as a team, and a bond and a culture.

“At the end of the day, we got a clean sheet, we scored two goals and we won. Going into this next match, we know we might have to be a little bit better if we want to win.”

Panama, meanwhile, were beaten 3-1 by Marcelo Bielsa’s Uruguay in their opening match, with Amir Murrillo netting a late consolation after Maximiliano Araujo, Darwin Nunez and Matias Vina scored for the 15-time winners.

“I think we had too much respect for Uruguay, in the first half there were too many mistakes,” head coach Thomas Christiansen said.

“They’re a great team that you have to respect, but I think in moments we were afraid of making a mistake.

“In the second half, we showed this team is alive with enthusiasm and desire. Now it’s time to make another big effort against the United States before ending with Bolivia.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Panama – Amir Murillo

Murillo netted a late consolation against Uruguay, also recording the most touches (62) and joint-most touches in the penalty area (four, also Jose Fajardo) of any Panama player in their opening match.

That game saw Panama surpass 250 completed passes in a Copa America game for the first time. They will not be pushovers in Atlanta, but if they are to really trouble the hosts, they need wing-back Murillo to contribute in the attacking third.

United States – Christian Pulisic

Pulisic provided a goal and an assist as the USA beat Bolivia in their Group C opener, becoming the first American to score and assist in a single Copa America match since Clint Dempsey did so twice in 2016, versus Ecuador and Costa Rica.

Pulisic averages 0.93 goal contributions per 90 minutes in competitive matches for his country, the highest rate in their history (minimum 1,500 minutes played).

The Milan winger also recorded the most line-breaking passes in the attacking third of any player during Group C’s first set of games, with four.

Until the USA’s first match, only Rodrigo De Paul of Argentina had reached that figure in the tournament’s opening round of fixtures.

MATCH PREDICTION: UNITED STATES WIN

After beating Bolivia, the USA could start a Copa America tournament with back-to-back victories for the very first time.

Only once before have they managed successive wins in the competition, winning three games in a row up to the quarter-finals in 2016, as they finished fourth on home soil.

They have never lost or even conceded a goal to CONMEBOL opponents at the Copa America, drawing 0-0 with Mexico in the 1995 quarter-finals before triumphing on penalties, and routing Costa Rica 4-0 in the group stage in 2016.

The USA have only failed to score in one of their previous 19 matches against Panama on home soil, in a goalless draw in New Jersey in the 2005 Gold Cup final, which they won via spot-kicks.

With home advantage on their side, we expect more joy for the USA on Thursday.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Panama – 22.6%

United States – 54.7%

Draw – 22.7%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

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