Commerce City, Colorado – With the top of their group already clinched due to Canada drawing Cuba 2-2 in the previous match of the day at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the Under-23 USMNT made it a clean nine out of nine points in their Olympic Qualifying group stage with a 4-0 win over Panama. The first half saw both sides feel each other out in a pretty even opening forty-five minutes but the U-23 USMNT sprung into life thanks in the second half thanks to two subs.
Jordan Morris and Jerome Kiesewetter came on at halftime in place of the injured duo of Gedion Zelalem and Maki Tall and both had an immediate impact on the match with their energy and off the ball movement. The scoring was opened in the 51st minute with an own goal by Panamanian defender Fidel Escobar. Then the the two substitute strikers scored a goal apiece with Kisewetter netting in the 53rd minute and Morris in the 56th to make it 3-0 USA. Luis Gil added a 71st minute penalty kick (which he earned after being taken down from behind in the box) to make it 4-0 and it was smoothing sailing from there on out for the Yanks.
The U-23’s now move on to the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying semifinals in Salt Lake City where they will take on the loser of Mexico or Honduras (in the case of a tie the US would play Honduras) for a chance to advance to the 2016 Olympic games hosted by Brazil. The USA did not qualify for London 2012 and making it to Brazil has been a top priority for Jürgen Klinsmann and US Soccer. Andreas Herzog is three for three so far as the U-23 manager in this tournament and he will hope to make it four for four and win the only game that matters in order for American Olympic hopes to come true this coming Saturday.
51′ – Escobar (OG)
53′ – Kisewetter
56′ – Morris
71′ – Gil