WIENER NEUSTADT, Austria (Nov. 16, 2020) – A youthful, energetic U.S. Men’s National Team scored in bunches to top regional rival Panama 6-2 in Austria. The American attack exploded for two sets of three goals in the span of eight minutes, both midway through the first half and late in the second.
The goals came with a number of milestones. At just eighteen years old, forward Gio Reyna opened the scoring as the third-youngest player to score for the USMNT while a brace from fellow debutant forward Sebastian Soto joined a group of four other U.S. players to score more than once in their debut. Forward Nicholas Gioacchini earned U.S. Soccer Insiders Man of the Match honors as he opened his international account with a first-half brace in his second MNT appearance, while midfielder Sebastian Lletget added a late goal.
With an average age of 22 years and 154 days, tonight’s starting XI was the second youngest USMNT lineup of all-time and featured an all-European based XI for the first time since a 2-0 Gold Cup quarterfinal win against Jamaica on June 19, 2011 in Washington, D.C. The youthful squad’s six goals are the most ever scored by the USA on European soil as the U.S. remains undefeated in 2020, posting a 2-0-1 record and recording two shutouts.
After surrendering the opening goal early, the U.S. roared back with its first set of three goals in an eight-minute span. Reyna opened the onslaught on a free kick in the 18th minute, becoming the third youngest goal scorer in USMNT history after Christian Pulisic and Juan Agudelo. In his second appearance, Gioacchini put the U.S. ahead four minutes later, tallying his first for the MNT by getting on the end of rebound just inside the six-yard box. He doubled the USA’s lead in the 26th, finishing off a great team effort with a diving header.
After six debuts in the MNT’s match last Thursday vs. Wales, three more players earned their first caps with the senior team tonight as Richy Ledezma, Chris Richards and Soto- who all represented the USA at the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup- entering as second-half substitutes. While things were slow-going for much of the second half, the substitutes catalyzed another eight-minute outburst of three goals, all headers. Ledezma teed up Soto for his first goal just six minutes after the striker’s entrance, Reggie Cannon played a ball in for Lletget, another late substitute, four minutes later and in stoppage time, Ledezma once again served a well-placed ball to Soto to close out the scoring.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
PAN – Jose Fajardo (Alejandro Yearwood), 8th minute –The Panamanians turned on a quick counter, finding Alejandro Yearwood wide left. He delivered a quick and decisively-placed cross to the top of the six-yard box, where Jose Fajardo split the U.S. center backs and directed a header to the far post
USA – Gio Reyna, 18th minute – A pair of teenagers delivered to draw the U.S. even, as Yunus Musah earned a foul right at the top of area, just left of center. Three days after his 18th birthday, Gio Reyna confidently stepped up and curled a low drive past the wall and inside the right panel.
USA – Nicholas Gioacchini, 22nd minute – This time it was Reyna who started the movement, slipping Uly Llanez a ball to run onto into the right side off the box. His first-time effort was blocked by Panama goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera, but the rebound fell to Gioacchini who made no mistake.
USA – Nicholas Gioacchini (Matt Miazga), 26th minute – Four minutes later, Gioacchini put the finishing touch on a fantastic sequence started when Tyler Adams pushed Weston McKennie through on the left side of the area. McKennie hustled to keep the ball inbounds and did one better, lofting a cross to the back post where Matt Miazga nodded across the goal mouth to record his second career assist as Gioacchini went airborne and headed home his second of the night.
PAN – Jose Fajardo, 79th minute – Fajardo bagged his brace after a ping-pong play just outside the area caught the U.S. defense by surprise. Fajardo raced in solo and hit a hard dipping shot past U.S. ‘keeper Zack Steffen.
USA – Sebastian Soto (Richy Ledezma), 83rd minute – Receiving the ball just outside the top corner of the box, Ledezma teed it up and hit a lovely service to his former Real Salt Lake academy teammate. The striker made a nice run between the Panamanian center backs and leapt to hit a diving header to the left side of the net for his first senior international goal.
USA – Sebastian Lletget (Reggie Cannon), 87th minute – Off of a corner kick, Reggie Cannon sent a ball from the right flank to the near post to set up his second career assist. Lletget maneuvered around his marking defender to meet the ball and nod it home cleanly for his third international goal.
USA – Sebastian Soto (Richy Ledezma), 90+1st minute – The former U-20 World Cup teammates connected once again for the game’s final goal in stoppage time. From the right sideline, Ledezma launched a booming ball to the far post. Soto got on the end of the service just inside the six-yard-box and got just enough of his head on the ball to tuck a bouncing header inside the near post.
Key Saves and Defensive Plays:
PAN – Orlando Mosquera, 65th minute – After a handball was called on Panama defender Oscar Linton in the area, Gioacchini stepped up to the penalty spot to try and complete a hat trick. Mosquera was equal to the task, diving to his left and collecting the effort.
Gio Reyna became the third youngest goal scorer in USMNT history after Christian Pulisic and Juan Agudelo.
After entering as a second-half substitute, Sebastian Soto became the fifth USMNT player to score more than once in their debut match and the first in the modern era. He follows Andy Auld (two goals vs. Canada on Nov. 6, 1926), Aldo Donelli (four goals vs. Mexico on May 24, 1934), Otto Decker (two goals vs. England on June 8, 1953) and Peter Millar (two goals vs. Israel on Sept. 15, 1968).
Soto is just the second player to score more than once in their debut as a substitute, following Decker.
Both of Soto’s goals came on assists from Richy Ledezma, who also made his MNT debut as a second-half sub. The pair were teammates for the U.S. at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, where Ledezma assisted on Soto’s opening goal vs. France during the USA’s upset win in the Round of 16. They also played together at Real Salt Lake in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
Four of the six 2017-18 Development Academy Conference Players of the Year appeared for the USA tonight: Ledezma (West U-18/19), Uly Llanez (West U-16/17), Reyna (East U-16/17) and Richards (Central U-18/19).
The USA’s six goals are its most ever on European soil. Previously, the team netted four goals on four separate occasions.
With three debuts tonight, nine of 10 uncapped players on the MNT roster earned their first caps during the November international window, including all uncapped field players.
Yunus Musah became the first USMNT player to start multiple matches before the age of 18. Set to turn 18 on Nov. 29, the Valencia midfielder also became the fourth USMNT player to appear in multiple matches before voting age: Christian Pulisic (8 in 2016), Bobby Convey (2 in 2000-01) and Poli Garcia (2 in 1975).
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter made four personnel changes to the USMNT starting lineup from Thursday’s match against Wales: Tim Ream and Reggie Cannon slotted in on the back line, while Nicholas Gioacchini and Llanez started up front.
The Starting XI represented clubs in eight different countries: England, Germany and Spain (2 each), Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal (1 each).
For the second straight match, the USMNT started players who feature in each of Europe’s top four leagues: Ream and Zack Steffen (English Premier League); Weston McKennie (Italian Serie A); Sergiño Dest and Musah (Spanish La Liga); Tyler Adams and Reyna (German Bundesliga)
Ream captained the USMNT for the seventh time tonight. The veteran defender has worn the armband more than any other player under Gregg Berhalter.
Earning his 12th cap, Adams started consecutive matches for the first time in more than two years – the 2-0 loss to Brazil (Sept. 7, 2018) and 1-0 win against Mexico where he scored the lone goal on Sept. 11, 2018.
After making his debut off the bench against Wales, Gioacchini started his first match for the USMNT tonight. The forward netted his first two international goals vs. Panama.
Cannon, Llanez and Sebastian Lletget have appeared in all three matches this year for the USMNT.
Tonight’s game marked the first time the USMNT has faced a Concacaf opponent in a neutral site friendly match outside of the region.
The match marked the third-straight year the USMNT played a neutral site match in November. The team fell 1-0 to Italy in Genk, Belgium on Nov. 20, 2018 and defeated Cuba 4-0 in George Town, Cayman Islands on Nov. 19, 2019 in the Concacaf Nations League.
Berhalter holds a 13-5-3 record as USMNT head coach and is 3-0-0 against Panama.
Los Canaleros were the opponent for his first match on Jan. 27, 2019 in Glendale, Ariz. Djordje Mihailovic, Walker Zimmerman and Christian Ramirez scored in the 3-0 win.
The teams met again in the Gold Cup group stage last summer, with Jozy Altidore’s bicycle kick serving as the difference in the 1-0 win on June 26, 2019 in Kansas City.
The USMNT is 16-1-6 all-time against Panama and has never lost to the Central American side away from U.S. soil (3-0-2 in five matches played in Panama, 1-0-0 in neutral site games).
– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Panama
Date: November 16, 2020
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Stadion Wiener Neustadt; Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Attendance: No attendance
Kickoff: 8:45 p.m. local / 2:45 p.m. ET
Weather: 50 degrees; cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 3 6
PAN 1 1 2
PAN – Jose Fajardo (Alejandro Yearwood) 8th minute
USA – Giovanni Reyna 18
USA – Nicholas Gioacchini 22
USA – Nicholas Gioacchini (Matt Miazga) 26
PAN – Jose Fajardo 79
USA – Sebastian Soto (Richy Ledezma) 83
USA – Sebastian Lletget (Reggie Cannon) 87
USA – Sebastian Soto (Richy Ledezma) 90+1
USA: 1-Zack Steffen; 20-Reggie Cannon, 3-Matt Miazga (15-Chris Richards, 80), 13-Tim Ream (capt.), 2-Sergiño Dest; 4-Tyler Adams (16-Johnny Cardoso, 62), 18-Yunus Musah (17-Sebastian Lletget, 76), 8-Weston McKennie; 7-Giovanni Reyna (12-Richy Ledezma, 68), 9-Nicholas Gioacchini (19-Sebastian Soto, 77), 21-Uly Llanez (23-Tim Weah, 62)
Subs not used: 22-Ethan Horvath, 24-Chituru Odunze, 5-Antonee Robinson, 6-John Brooks, 11-Konrad de la Fuente, 14-Owen Otasowie
Head coach: Gregg Berhalter
PAN: 1-Orlando Mosquera; 23-Michael Murillo, 4-Fidel Escobar, 13-Oscar Linton, 15-Alejandro Yearwood (14-Andres Andrade, 55); 16-Jorman Aguilar (21-Omar Browne, 75), 11-Armando Cooper (capt.) (5-Abdiel Ayarza, 75), 8-Adalberto Carrasquilla (6-Victor Griffith, 55), 7-Eduardo Guerrero (9-Gabriel Torres, 45); 17-Jose Fajardo, 24-Juan David Tejada (19-Cesar Yanis, 45)
Subs not used: 22-Marcos Allen, 2-Francisco Palacios, 3-Harold Cummings, 10-Edgar Barcenas
Head coach: Thomas Christiansen
Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots: 15 / 8
Shots on Goal: 8 / 3
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 20 / 18
Offside: 1 / 3
PAN – Fidel Escobar (caution) 41st minute
PAN – Michael Murrillo (caution) 42
USA – Weston McKennie (caution) 50
USA – Nicholas Gioacchini (caution) 51
PAN – Victor Griffith (caution) 70
PAN – Gabriel Torres (caution) 73
Referee: Harald Lechner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Andreas Heidenreich (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximilian Kolbithsc (AUT)
4th Official: Julian Weinberger (AUT)
U.S. Soccer Insiders Man of the Match: Nicholas Gioacchini