USMNT withstands slugfest with Panama for valuable road draw

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USA TODAY Sports’ Martin Rogers recaps the World Cup qualifying match between the USA and Panama.
USA TODAY Sports

PANAMA CITY – Tim Howard long ago cut out the waffle when it comes to analysis and didn’t pull any verbal punches late Tuesday night.

“When you are an old dog like me a few minutes into the game you realize you are playing 12 against 11,” the United States goalkeeper said, in reference to the refereeing standards in his team’s 1-1 draw with Panama. “The referee is on the field to protect both sets of players. If he doesn’t do that it is tough.”

Just a few miles down the road from the birthplace of one of the finest boxers of all time — Roberto Duran — the U.S. felt like it had been through a slugfest here in its latest World Cup qualifying test.

At least in the minds of the Americans their opponents were twofold, the pumped-up home side hungry for a big scalp, and the Mexican refereeing crew marshaled by Cesar Ramos.

Such judgment of the officials is always going to be subjective at the…

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