Gringo coach warns Panama they shouldn’t be shy about ‘physical play’

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Berhalter also pointed out the condition of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s turf.

Sports Editorial (USA), June 26 (EFE)

Gregg Berhalter, coach of the United States national team, confirmed on Wednesday, on the eve of the Copa America match against Panama, that his players will not avoid physical clashes with the strong Panamanian players.

“It’s about accepting what each match brings, and if it’s a physical match, it will be okay,” Berhalter said in a press conference.

“We are not shy about physical contact. We love it. It has never been a problem for us,” he added.

After making its debut with a 2-0 win over Bolivia in the tournament it hosts, the USA will face Panama tomorrow starting at 6:00 PM local time (22:00 GMT) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

For its part, Panama played its first match against Uruguay, which it lost 3-1.

“I suppose they have a different game plan, but they will continue to do what they do: they are very good at building from goalkeeping and they use long balls very effectively,” Berhalter said of Panama.

“They use the space on the wings very effectively. Things we have to be prepared for,” he added.

Berhalter also pointed to the condition of the turf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which was heavily criticized by Argentina after their Copa America opener was played there on Thursday last week against Canada.

“It’s hard to say now, but he seems to be in very good shape. But we can’t know how he will react,” said Berhalter, who perhaps because he was acting as the host wanted to downplay the matter. “Same for both teams.”

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