Even Messi might have come away impressed, but probably would been more jealous at the type of support the 19-year-old's teammates gave him.
Arena needed his side to heap early pressure onto a Panama side who have been notoriously hard to break down, conceding just five goals in their prior matches of the six-nation final round of qualifying.
It was Pulisic who set the tone early, going right at Panama's normally stingy defense from the start, with his speed and confident dribbling tearing through opposing defenders easily. Altidore went on to score twice, with one assisted by Pulisic.
Altidore earned Man of the Match honors on a night where everyone in the attack played well.
Pulisic then set up Altidore for the second goal in the 19th minute.
Will the US get the job done?
Both sides had great scoring chances in the opening six minutes.
If the United States of America lost to Trinidad & Tobago, it would still have a shot at finishing third ahead of Panama and Honduras. Arena said his squad was aware of what was stake if the United States fails to deliver the goods in Orlando tomorrow: "I have not had to lecture the players in any way as to just how significant this game is". This time we gave them space and that was the error. In a cycle where the results have often come from grinding, the next two games they will have to dominate. Teams better than Panama will take advantage of an undermanned defense, so how do you bolster that area of the field and keep playing what amounts to three forwards on the other end?
For his part, Pulisic said he would be fine for Tuesday's game. "I think that's fine and we'll get it done". "We've come a long way since November 2016 and in good position to hopefully get the third spot", United States coach Bruce Arena told ESPN.
The duo have a long-standing coaching camaraderie, with Bradley having served as Arena's assistant at the University of Virginia from 1983 to 1984, with the U.S. Under-23 national team at the 1996 Olympics and at D.C. United from 1996 to 1997.
The U.S. Soccer Federation said it had received permission from FIFA to hold a moment of silence before the match in memory of the victims of the Las Vegas shootings. USA coach Bruce Arena pulled Pulisic out of the game in the 57th minute with the US up by three goals. He has been a mainstay with the national team, but of late, had appeared in just one Premier League match since returning from injury. Just 11 minutes later, Pulisic skinned Michael Murillo on a textbook cutback out wide before delivering a pinpoint cross to Altidore for the goal.
The only concern of the Americans afterward, then, was for Pulisic, who was battered several times and then, finally, so badly that he required treatment after a particularly rough foul at midfield just after halftime. "He did what he wanted".
"That's one of Jozy's best qualities", said Pulisic, who has now been directly involved in eight of the U.S.'s 15 goals in the Hexagonal.
"I really don't build a team around one player.
I'm very fortunate that tonight I had another opportunity to play in a big match where we needed a good result and was able to step up". "He's a good player, but for Christian to be more effective he needs to have good players around him". If the U.S.is as aggressive as it was on Friday, the objective will be achieved.
Christian Pulisic (L) shoots against Keylor Navas of Costa Rica during the Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018 World Cup Qualifier at Red Bull Arena on September 1, 2017 in Harrison, N.J.
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