Guatemala, Panama wind up tied
The solid marking and strong defense of the opponent left Carlos "El Pescadito" Ruiz "caught in the Canal", as the Galaxy striker couldn't find the key to open the Panama door, as his Guatemala side ended with a scoreless draw on Wednesday.
The draw allowed Ruiz's team to leave with a point of gold from the field at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama, in the opening match for both teams in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
For the entire match the Galaxy marksman was on the receiving end of harsh fouls and received little reaction from Jamaican referee Peter Prendergast, who soon called attention to Guatemala's opponents.
In the 26th minute Ruiz had the clearest chance to score, but with his back to goal defender Anthony Torres bothered him enough to stop his opportunity to hit home.
Ruiz was continually at the heart of the chapines attack, alongside Dwight Pezzarossi. In the 52nd minute, after leaving a rival in his wake, he started a counterattack that Mario Rodriguez couldn't finish off.
In the midfield, after the imposing figure of goalkeeper Ricardo Foster, Guillermo Ramirez was the orchestrator of the Guatemalan attack. The playmaker could soon find himself in Galaxy colors alongside Ruiz, according to media reports.
In addition to have nearly scored, in the 13th minute with a powerful shot from outside the area, when the ball passed Ramirez's boots it left with personality and he put his stamp on the attack, although it never crystalized in the longed-for triumph.
Giovani Gutiérrez is sports editor of Al Día in Guatemala and a columnist for rojomanía.com.