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Wednesday, June 20 2018 @ 07:08 PM EDT

Tonight: U.S. takes on Panama in one half of Linc doubleheader

Sports Section - The U.S. men's national team shook up the soccer world a bit at the Confederations Cup last month by beating formerly top-ranked Spain in the semifinals prior to nearly knocking off current No. 1 Brazil in America's first-ever major FIFA competition final. This means the team's 2010 World Cup chances look brighter than ever, as the U.S. demonstrated a stout defense and a (finally) potent attack, proving they could thrive against top competition. While the Gold Cup, a regional tourney featuring the best of North and Central Americas and the Caribbean, is not the sexiest of events, it gives the national team a chance to acquire much-needed depth for next year, as the squad's lower-tier players get valuable minutes. Tonight, they'll take the pitch at Lincoln Financial Field at 8 p.m. against Panama, preceded by another quarterfinal match between Canada and Honduras. Many of the Gold Cup teams are not top-flight, but expect a vibrant, 700-Level-rivaling display of passion in the stands from fans while their national teams battle for respect. Panama should prove tough, as they came close against the U.S. in the 2007 Gold Cup Quarterfinals as well as in the 2005 Final. The double billing serves as a primer for what MLS is calling a "Summer of Soccer," a massive number of games at club and international levels, featuring worldwide stars, meant to cultivate the stateside fan base for the game. So get down to the Linc and get patriotic.
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