Int'l Roundup: Dike capped for Nigeria; Spain rout Panama
No one can ever again say Philadelphia Union and Panama midfielder Gabriel Gómez lacks for confidence. Ever.
Gómez (above) provided his country's lone highlight on the day when he stepped up in the 87th minute and converted a penalty kick against Spain, clawing one back in what was the expected 5-1 domination by the reigning World Cup and European champions in Wednesday's international play.
It wasn't just the conversion, though — it was how Gómez went about business that raised some eyebrows. The veteran decided to perform a "Panenka," a chipped penalty that relies upon the 'keeper comitting before the ball is actually struck. It's a risky decision that's come back into vogue since Andrea Pirlo's cool-as-can-be conversion this summer.
To Gómez's credit, he was more Pirlo than Graham Zusi (rewatch the US Open Cup final for the reference), much to the delight of his countrymen.
FC Dallas forward Blas Pérez went 59 minutes in the loss, while fellow Dallas man Carlos Rodríguez got 77 minutes.
MLSers made their presence felt elsewhere on Wednesday as well. Kenny Miller went 90 minutes in Scotland's 2-1 win at Luxembourg, leading the line but failing to find the net, and LA Galaxy reserve Dan Keat got a 75-minute run-out for New Zealand in a 1-1 draw at China, a solid result for the All Whites.
Oklahoma-born Portland Timbers man Bright Dike, meanwhile, made his debut for Nigeria, going 68 minutes and drawing praise from the Nigerian press for a hard-working shift up top as the Super Eagles beat Venezuela 3-1 in Miami.
Dike's Timbers teammate Franck Songo'o received his first cap for Cameroon in four years as the winger made a second-half cameo for the Indomitable Lions in their 0-0 draw with Albania in Geneva, Switzerland.
In Houston, both Boniek García and Mario Martínez were second-half subs as Honduras and Peru played to a 0-0 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium. Neither player figured much into the action, which will come as a relief to both the Houston Dynamo and Seattle Sounders, who hope their respective players figure big into Sunday's second legs of the Conference Championships. Andy Najar, who's suspended for D.C. United's second leg vs. the Dynamo, got the start — his third cap — and went 74 minutes for the Catrachos.
In Bolivia, it was a disaster for New York Red Bulls defender Roy Miller. A second-half substitute, he gifted Carlos Saucedo the equalizer in second-half stoppage time as Costa Rica settled for a 1-1 draw with the hosts. Columbus Crew forward Jairo Arrieta started alongside Ticos goalscorer Joel Campbell and went the full 90, but had little impact.