U.S. Can Advance Tonight


With eight more goals for the United States, Brian McBride can overtake newly installed U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame member Eric Wynalda and become the national team’s all-time leading scorer.

McBride, who scored his 26th goal for the U.S. in a 2-0 victory over El Salvador at San Salvador on Saturday, has a chance to add to his tally tonight when the Americans play host to Panama at RFK Stadium in Washington (4:30 p.m., ESPN2).

A victory would secure a berth in the final round of World Cup 2006 qualifying for the first-place U.S. (2-0-2). Panama (1-1-2) needs to win to keep up with second-place Jamaica (1-1-2), which is expected to defeat El Salvador (1-3-0) tonight at the National Stadium in Kingston.


The Americans have an 11-game unbeaten streak (7-0-4) and are not expected to struggle as much against Panama tonight as they did during a 1-1 tie at Panama City on Sept. 8, when only an injury-time goal by the Galaxy’s Cobi Jones salvaged a point.

Jones appeared in his U.S.-record 35th qualifying game against El Salvador, tying him with Earnie Stewart.

The U.S. will be without suspended defender Cory Gibbs.

In other key CONCACAF region qualifying games tonight, Guatemala (2-1-1) can clinch a place in the final round with a victory at home over Honduras (1-0-3); Canada (0-2-2) will be eliminated unless it defeats Costa Rica (2-2-0) at Vancouver; and Mexico (3-0-0) will advance if it beats Trinidad and Tobago (3-1-0) at Puebla, Mexico.

-- Grahame L. Jones