Blas Perez and Luis Tejada of Panama
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Panama: Copa America Centenario Team Guide

Though still lacking in the talent and tactical departments compared to CONCACAF powers USA and Mexico, Panama have improved a decent amount in recent years through sheer verve. The defense can stand tall, while their experienced forwards are dangerous. As is often the case with Panama, how well their midfield plays often tells the tale.

3 Stars

  • Felipe Baloy (Atlas/Mexico) – American fans need little introduction to Baloy, whose extremely physical play can annoy opponents off their game. He's excellent in the air, but can be beaten for pace and is not always reliable on the ball.
  • Blas Perez (Vancouver Whitecaps/MLS) – The physical striker often brings his best to tournament play and can unnerve opponents with his work rate. Perez is very strong in the air, but his hold-up play runs hot and cold.
  • Luis Tejada (Juan Aurich/Peru) – Like Perez, Panama's all-time top scorer often shines brightest in competitive matches. However, Tejada is more about pace and dribbling than his partner.

Manager

Hernan Dario Gomez – The former midfielder is in charge of his fourth national team. Gomez's first international job was for his native Colombia, but he was let go after a group stage exit at the 1998 World Cup. Four years later, he led Ecuador to their first World Cup appearance, but failed again to reach the knockouts. He was hired for a second stint with Colombia in 2010, but resigned a year later after making the wrong kind of headlines for an alleged assault at a bar. He took the Panama job in 2014 and guided them to a bronze medal finish at the 2015 Gold Cup despite failing to engineer a single victory in six games.

Copa America Group D Schedule

June 6 vs. Bolivia (7 pm ET, Camping World Stadium – Orlando, Fl.)
June 10 vs. Argentina (9:30 pm ET, Soldier Field – Chicago, Ill.)
June 14 vs. Chile (8 pm ET, CenturyLink Field – Seattle, Wa.)
Full schedule

Copa America Squad

Goalkeepers (3): Jose Calderon, Jaime Penedo, Alex Rodriguez
Defenders (7): Felipe Baloy, Harold Cummings, Eric Davis, Fidel Escobar, Luis Henriquez, Adolfo Machado, Roderick Miller
Midfielders (7): Ricardo Buitrago, Armando Cooper, Anibal Godoy, Gabriel Gomez, Amilcar Henriquez, Valentin Pimental, Alberto Quintero
Forwards (6): Abdiel Arroyo, Ismael Diaz, Roberto Nurse, Blas Perez, Luis Tejada, Gabriel Torres

Starting XI (4-4-2)

  • GK: Jaime Penedo (Saprissa)
  • RB: Adolfo Machado (Saprissa)
  • CB: Harold Cummings (Alajuelense)
  • CB: Felipe Baloy (Atlas)
  • LB: Eric Davis (Dunajská Streda)
  • RM: Valentin Pimentel (La Equidad)
  • CM: Gabriel Gomez (Cartagines)
  • CM: Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes)
  • LM: Alberto Quintero (San Jose Earthquakes)
  • FW: Luis Tejada (Juan Aurich)
  • FW: Blas Perez (Vancouver Whitecaps)

Style of play

Panama have a squad of fighters and battlers who all understand their specific roles to play. The defense is physical and the attack is opportunistic. The coach's tactics are rather conservative and the players execute with a minimum of flash, grinding out results through will.

How they qualified

Los Canaleros got in by routing Cuba 4-0 in a Copa America Centenario qualifying playoff in January.

Copa America history

This will be Panama's first shot at CONMEBOL's headline tournament.

Memorable moments

Panama have never advanced to a World Cup, but the they've become a regular nuisance in other CONCACAF competitions. They have reached the knockouts in six straight Gold Cups, with two final appearances and last year's third-place finish to their credit. They also won the Copa Centroamericana (Copa UNCAF) back in 2009.

United States vs Panama

Matches US Wins US Losses Draws
Overall 11 1 4
Official Competitions 10 1 4
Friendlies 1 0 0

MLS Connections

San Jose's Aníbal Godoy and Seattle's Roman Torres joined the league last season, and Blas Pérez signing with Vancouver makes for three Panamanians in MLS. The forward is the most experienced of the 13 players from Panama to feature in MLS over the years, having scored 36 times in 97 regular season games while with FC Dallas.

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