Our football match prediction:
United States of America have been struggling in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, with the team recording no more than two wins in the process to date. The Yanks are on a three-game winless run in their qualifying group, but a win over Panama would see them regain their spot in top three. USA need to be at their sharpest in the last two group games if they are to qualify for the showpiece tournament in Russia, but Saturday’s football match against los Canaleros will be anything but a walk in the park for Bruce Arena’s troops. Panama aim to retain third position in the standings and they are likely to adopt a defence-minded approach in the clash against USA. However, seeing that the Yanks are a real force to be reckoned with at home, we are tempted to put our money on the Gold Cup winners
Highlighted Player (Aron Johannsson):
Aron Johannsson is a 25-year-old striker who plays for the German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen and the United States national side. He started his career with Iceland club Fjolnir before joining Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in 2013. He had a prolific stay at the Eredivisie club before signing for Werder Bremen in 2015 for a transfer fee in the region of € 5 million. However he made limited appearances for them due to a hip injury. Johannsson is a former Iceland U-21 international but made his senior debut for the United States in 2013. He was part of the American squad which finished fourth at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup scoring in the quarter-final win over Cuba. He already has 19 senior caps to his name along with two goals to his credit. Johannsson is known as a very mobile striker and scores goals at an excellent rate – as was evident in his stay at Alkmaar.
Highlighted Team (Panama):
Established in 1937, the Panama national team is a member of CONCACAF confederation which has seen their reputation grow significantly over the past decade. Los Canaleros finished as runners-up in the 2005 and 2013 Gold Cup respectively, while they also reached the fourth round for the 2006 and 2014 World Cup CONCACAF qualifications in that order. Panama were denied their place in the play-offs in 2014 in the last 90 seconds of the ultimate match with USA as they conceded two late goals in stoppage time as they crashed out of the qualification. Los Canaleros are heading into the Copa America Centenario as the winners of the qualifying play-offs and under the guidance of former Colombia and Ecuador head coach Henan Dario Gomez they will try to build on their most recent momentum. Midfielder Gabriel Gomez is the most capped player for Panama with his 125 appearances since 2003, while Luis Tejada is the team’s top scorer with 42 goals in 94 appearances so far.