It's getting harder and harder to deny the hype of Christian Pulisic; it's getting harder and harder to find new superlatives for the teenager.
The U.S. men's national team needed three points on Friday night against Panama in Orlando to feel good about its chances of making the 2018 World Cup.
The U.S. moves into third place in CONCACAF qualifying by earning all three points. They did just that in an emphatic 4-0 win that has the Americans on the verge of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
Now in third place in the CONCACAF region, the USA needs only to beat last-place Trinidad and Tobago in the finale to lock in that spot and earn entry to Russian Federation next summer.
The U.S. are still not guaranteed a spot at next year's World Cup, as results from Saturday's Costa Rica-Hondura match and Tuesday's final round will affect the outcome in the standings.
The USA moved back into third place in the Hexagonal with its 4-0 win over Panama that certainly made its path to Russian Federation a lot easier.
Pulisic went on to set up the second goal, placing a ball through the Panamanian box past the keeper and on a silver platter for Jozy Altidore to tap into the net. Pulisic has been one of the best players in the region, yet Bruce Arena has done little to tailor an attack around his talents. "Across the board, we had guys ready for a big game and come through in a huge way".
"He's our wonder boy", Howard said of Pulisic. He followed his first touch-a mind-bending reach-back to corral Altidore's pass-by torching Román Torres, cutting wide to evade goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and finishing at a perilously acute angle at dizzying speed. "I know he's an exceptional player and he stands out, and you think that, but we don't build a team around Christian", Arena said.
What stood out the most for the USA was the renewed brilliance of Pulisic, the 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund star who's already the U.S.'s best player, and his often telepathic understanding with Altidore in both directions. The teenager took his time on the wing before beating his man with a spot-on cross that Altidore couldn't help but send into the goal.
The last four matches between the two had all ended in draws, a result which would have suited Hernan Dario Gomez's side, who close out qualifying next week against a Costa Rican side who should have joined Mexico in qualifying by then. You can also live-stream the game through fuboTV. Talking about the USA women's national team, winning in Canada in 2015, we saw how that propelled the women to another level. Whether Arena doesn't take Panama seriously enough to get Johnson (who is healthy) into the lineup or simply doesn't believe that he needs him, it's concerning.
U-17 World Cup: Josh Sargent converted a penalty kick in the first half, Chris Durkin and Andrew Carleton added goals in the second and the United States opened the Under-17 World Cup with a 3-0 win over host India before 46,312 fans - and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi - in New Delhi.
Totally superior Pulisic settled any United States nerves with a brilliant display in the eighth. Escaping Mexico, Panama and Honduras with draws mean the US still have a chance. Later, Wood capped the scoring with a stellar finish in the 63rd minute, removing all doubt from the match setting off a celebration for the raucous Orlando City Stadium crowd.
The U.S coasted the rest of the way for a vital victory. If this team makes the World Cup - and that doesn't seem like a big if anymore - Pulisic be why.