Gold Cup: "Lack of communication" gives Panama scare

DETROIT — For nearly an hour, Panama were in total control of their 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup victory over Group C minnows Guadeloupe. Up 3-0 and creating chance after chance, Julio Dely Valdés’ side seemed on the verge of a statement win.
 
Then, despite being up a man after a 38th-minute red card to Guadeloupe’s Mickaël Tacalfred, the wheels came off. Or at least the lug nuts loosened. Valdés was not happy.
 
“It was a game where at the end, we shouldn’t have had so many problems after we were in control of the game,” the Panama coach said after the match.
 
Panama got goals from Blas Pérez, Luis Tejada and Gabriel Gómez to stake themselves a seemingly insurmountable lead in the 57th minute. But the Gwada Boys made things interesting after substitute Blaise Jovial scored twice.
 
“We just didn’t communicate and that lack of communication is what we need to work on,” Panama captain Felipe Baloy said. “During the upcoming rest days we need to discuss it and put it into practice, and then use it in our next game.”
 
Panama’s next game is against group leaders USA on Saturday in Tampa.
 
Gwada Boys Regrouping
 
Guadeloupe coach Roger Salnot was forced to defend his lone-striker tactical set-up after the loss to Panama.
 
“I believe that it is not the system that made us win or lose tonight,” he said. “It was the players. Defensively, we were naïve, we were bad.”
 
With the score line at 2-0 and Guadeloupe already down to 10 men, Salnot pushed a second striker into the attack, in an effort to get back into the game.
 
“We had to add another striker and that allowed Panama to come back and score the third goal,” he explained. “But tactically and technically, we were positive.”
 
Inserting the second striker did open things up for Guadeloupe, as did the shift, by necessity, to three midfielders. For captain Stéphane Auvray, it is a system that could prove successful in the Gwada Boys’ next match, against Canada on Saturday in Tampa.
 
“I think that with two attackers that can score goals and with the direction of our two center backs are good, that will help us win games,” the Sporting Kansas City midfielder said.