United States players celebrate after a FIFA World Cup qualifying soccer match against Panama, Sunday, March 27, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. The U.S. won 5-1. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

USMNT World Cup Bound? Not so Fast

The flights to Qatar are just about booked, but the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) can’t hit the skies just yet. With a 5-1 victory over Panama Sunday, the USA is one step closer to the World Cup. However, their ticket isn’t punched just yet.

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USMNT Magic in Orlando

In front of a rowdy home crowd in Orlando, the USMNT rose to the occasion. In a dominating effort, Panama never had a chance. Jumping out to a quick 4-0 halftime lead, the USMNT cruised to victory.

Captain America Shines

Highly thought as the next American Soccer star, Christian Pulisic shined bright last night. Getting on the score sheet early with two goals in the first half, he capped off his performance with a third in the latter half.

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The brilliant hat trick was not only a great display of his on-field talent but also highlighted his unheralded leadership. Certainly, this is something the USMNT has been desperately searching for since the dismissal of greats such as Tim Howard, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey

With the game getting out of reach in the second half, Panama took a different approach for the remaining minutes. Reckless tackles and chippy play began to occur, catching the attention of Pulisic. Clearly disturbed, he voiced his aggression to the referee, who later threatened Pulisic with a yellow card. Although the act may seem insignificant, it looms large in the locker room and further expresses the true leadership the young star encompasses.

What’s Left to Qualify?

With the dreadful feeling of missing the World Cup being all too familiar for USMNT players and fans alike, the Stars and Stripes can’t jump the gun.

With last night’s win, the USMNT is now second in the CONCACAF table heading to the final round of qualification. Now, they travel to Costa Rica to take on their international squad Wednesday at 9:05 p.m. Barring a catastrophic six-goal defeat, the USMNT will remain in an automatic qualifying spot and have their ticket to Qatar punched

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