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USMNT vs. Panama match preview

Will Corey Baird make his USMNT debut against Panama?

United States Training Session Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Gregg Berhalter era of the US Men’s National team will officially take the field this weekend. After a dark and dreary year and a half of Men’s soccer in the US we are looking to the future with a Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying on the horizon. We are breaking down what you need to know for this weekends friendly against a familiar foe in Panama.

When: Sunday, January 27th at 6:00 pm MT

Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

How to watch: ESPN 2, UniMás and UDN

Why this game matters: For purely selfish reasons this game is worth watching for RSL fans. It has been an extended dry spell since any player from our club has donned the US crest to represent both club and country. With Corey Baird surviving the final roster cuts that saw fellow RSL man Justen Glad sent home, we have hope that the dry spell will come to an end this Sunday.

Corey is listed as a midfielder on a roster that is not short of talent at that position. So there are no guarantees that he will see the field, but if we have learned one thing from Corey it is that he continues to surprise us and surpass our expectations.

United States Training Session
Corey Baird giving maximum effort in US training
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Our prediction: Expect Berhalter to give us the first real look at the formation and positional responsibilities that he will be seeking to establish as we prep for the Gold Cup this summer. Even though this lineup is likely not the one you will see in the summer he needs to start establishing that identity now.

Panama is a good but not great opponent and due to this friendly falling outside of the FIFA international window their roster, like ours, is made up of players from their domestic league only. The US should control this game and win it handily. We predict a 2-0 result for the red, white and blue.