KANSAS CITY.- Following Saturday’s 6-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago, which clinched the United States a spot in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, U.S. Manager Gregg Berhalter gave quite the honest answer when asked about the team’s approach to the final group game against Panama.
“To tell you the truth,” Berhalter began, “I don’t know. I’ve never been in a position like this one as a manager.”
Berhalter was referring to the concept of being guaranteed a place in the knockout rounds regardless of the final result, with first place in the group being the only thing at stake. Would we see heavy squad rotation? Would he stick with his choice eleven?
When asked about how the approach to the Panama match-up had evolved over the last few days, Berhalter made it abundantly clear that there was no uncertainty remaining in his mind.
“We talked with the team,” Berhalter said, “and it’s plain and simple; we want to win the group. That’s a priority. We spoke internally with the players and our ambition is to win the game tomorrow.”
“We know Panama is a very good opponent,” the U.S. Manager continued. “We know we always have difficult games with them. We know they’re going to put up good resistance, but we want to go out and get a win.”
Berhalter offered additional praise to Panama ahead of clash for the top spot in Group D.
“I think one of the strengths of their team is that they’ve been together for a long time,” Berhalter said. “They’ve got some dynamic players in that squad. Overall, it’s a strong team. It’s going to be a great test for us tomorrow.”
U.S. versus Panama will kick off at 9 PM ET on Wednesday in Kansas City.