In FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifying action, Darlington Nagbe and the United States Men’s National Team trounced Panama 4-0 in Orlando, Fla. to secure a crucial win on their road to Russia. Nagbe started the match and played 79 minutes in the victory. With the win, the Yanks have put themselves in a strong position within the Hex and currently sit in third place with 12 points, just three behind Costa Rica. A win on the road against Trinidad & Tobago in their final Hex qualifier would clinch qualification for the USMNT for the 2018 World Cup.
Jozy Altidore had two goals and an assist, Christian Pulisic contributed a goal and an assist and Bobby Wood added a goal to pace the Americans. Nagbe was stellar in possession on the left side of the midfield succeeding on 31 of his 32 passes on the night. The Timbers midfielder also had four ball recoveries in the match. Nagbe also had a hand in the second goal as he chipped a ball into space that Pulisic ran onto, took down the left wing and then crossed it into Altidore for a goal in the 19th minute.
With three points secured, the USMNT will take on Trinidad & Tobago October 10 ), hoping to secure their spot in the 2018 World Cup (5pm PT, beIN Sports, NBC Universo.
In other World Cup Qualifying action, Vytas and Lithuania met Malta in a Group F Qualifying match on Thursday, where they drew the host to a 1-1 final. Vytas started and played the full 90, helping Rinktine collect a point in the European Qualifier.
Malta struck first in the match, scoring in the 23rd minute off the boot of Andrei Agius and carried their lead to the break. However, eight minutes after half, Lithuania knotted the game at one thanks to a goal from Vykintas Slivka. With the draw, Rinktine collects their sixth point in Group F action, and will travel home to host group-leading England at LFF Stadium in Vilnius, Lithuania, October 8 at 9am PT.
Bill Tuiloma joined New Zealand as they traveled to Toyota Stadium in Toyota, Japan for an international friendly on Friday and came on as a late substitution in the 82nd minute in their 2-1 loss to Japan. The game stayed scoreless through the first half, before Japan opened with a 50th minute goal. The All Whites came back to tie up the match in the 59th, but The Samurai Blue netted a late game-winner as Shu Kurata buried a diving header in the 88th to notch the victory.
On Saturday, Timbers midfielder David Guzmán helped Costa Rica punch their ticket to Russia as the Ticos equalized late in second-half stoppage time against Honduras to draw 1-1. The draw secured second place in the Hex for Costa Rica and assured them a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Guzmán started and played the full 90 for the Ticos in the game. Though already qualified, Costa Rica still has one game left to play in the Hex Tuesday when they travel to take on Panama at 5pm PT.