The United States men’s national team, as much as they’d like you to believe otherwise, obviously heard and read plenty of the criticism of their past performances.
Christian Pulisic and Jozy Altidore were two heroes of Friday’s 4-0 World Cup hope-redeeming beatdown of Panama, and both admitted a readiness to loudly snap out of the funk caused by last month’s two-match, one-point mess in qualifying.
Pulisic celebrated emphatically after scoring his eighth minute opener, and said on television that it was probably all part of a release.
“With all the pressures and every thing going on, to get that early goal the emotions came out of me,” Pulisic said.
“We weren’t worried,” Altidore added. “When you lose a couple of games, the wolves come out. But everyone was confident. It’s about getting back to the basics.”
Altidore was quick to credit the team for his big night, as he scored two goals and could’ve had a couple more.
“The team was good tonight. I’m a guy (that) when everybody’s on like that, it’s easy. Christian was superb. His ability to play in between the lines can cause so much trouble.”
Both men obviously pointed to a need to get all three points from Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday and leave nothing to chance when it comes to scoreboard watching.
Pulisic left the match limping, but said he’ll be fine after being kicked in the calf as part of Panama’s plan to constantly foul the hero.