Soccer Watch

Seven players saw their first national team action against Panama Sunday night. (Courtesy of U.S. Soccer)

The future looks bright for the U.S. Men's National Team – at least based on the very small sample size of one first game under new head coach Gregg Berhalter: a comfortable 3-0 win Sunday night over an admittedly very weak and inexperienced Panama. Berhalter hadn't called in any of his Europe-based first-teamers, and instead fielded seven players, including five starters, who had never played for the national team before, and only one (Michael Bradley) who projects to be a first-team selection right now. But this is all about the future, and it was good to see all those new faces perform so strongly on the national stage, and offer a depth that's been lacking recently at several positions. This was a great place to start for Berhalter's young squad; they'll face a step up in competition this coming Saturday, Feb. 2, against Costa Rica (2:30pm, Fox). After that there's only one more tune-up game, March 26, against Chile in Houston, before the Gold Cup starts in mid-June.

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