Les Rouges, who were playing their first match since March, never really looked poised to lose the game, and they didn't thanks to goals from stars Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies.
Here’s how John Herdman’s squad fared ahead of Sunday's Nations League Final, where they'll face the United States.
Four shots on target, four shots saved for Borjan, who earned his 35th career clean sheet for Canada. The one criticism, however, is Borjan made more of a meal than he had to on one or two of Panama’s chances. That being said, his distribution numbers (20-for-32 completed passes) were also solid.
Another steady showing from Johnston, who led all Canadian defenders with 67 touches despite playing just 69 minutes. The Celtic FC fullback added a pair of clearances, three tackles and an interception to round out a fine performance.
A true leader at the back, a clean sheet will make Vitória very happy. The 36-year-old defender led all Canadian players with three aerial duels won and four clearances, while also connecting on 91% of his passes (48/53). The only question is whether the veteran has the legs to take the pitch on Sunday after playing all 90 minutes.
In form for Toronto FC, Laryea occupied a number of different roles for Herdman, including central midfield at times – and he made his presence felt. While he didn’t get on the scoresheet, Laryea, who is on loan from Premier League side Nottingham Forest, won a game-high 11 duels and three tackles. The MLS league leader in fouls won, Laryea also drew a game-high six fouls.
Smooth as silk, Eustáquio controlled the midfield, completing 70-of-74 passes, leading all players with a 95% passing accuracy and all Canadians with 89 touches. The 26-year-old FC Porto midfielder has cemented his place as not only Canada’s best midfielder, but as one of the best midfielders in the entire Concacaf region – and Thursday’s steady performance was just another example.
Like Eustáquio, Koné was excellent at keeping possession for Canada in the heart of midfield, connecting on 30-of-32 of his passes (94%). The former CF Montréal midfielder was key in sniffing out a few of Panama’s counterattacks as well, finishing with a trio of ground duels won, one tackle and one interception.
Adekugbe played 62 minutes before making way for Alphonso Davies. The Galatasaray defender, on loan from Turkish side Hayatspor, was deployed higher up the pitch than Canadian fans have been accustomed to, and he put in a decent shift. Adekugbe kept possession well and didn’t look out of place tracking back, though he did miss a clear-cut chance less than 10 minutes into the match (he was eventually ruled offside).
Striker. Left wing. Center-attacking midfield. David was all over the pitch for Canada, but that didn’t stop him from finding the back of the net. The 23-year-old Lille striker showed why he’s primed to make a big-time move this summer, opening the scoring with his 25th goal in a Canada shirt thanks to a deft left-footed finish – his third national team goal in 2023.
Larin, who’s coming off a stellar season with Real Valladolid in Spain, wasn’t much of a factor in this one, finishing with just 24 touches – the fewest among all Canadian starters. He was robbed of a potential goal by Panamanian goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera, who kept the former Orlando City SC striker’s header off the line in the second half.
It wasn’t the prettiest performance nor was it necessarily convincing, but it’s mission accomplished for Herdman, who not only managed to get a result, but also do so while resting key pieces in Davies and Osorio for most of the match, which should make the duo available for Sunday’s final.
Immediate impact. Davies checked into the match in the 62nd minute, and seven minutes later, the Bayern Munich star found the back of the net with a stunning left-footed finish. There were concerns that Davies, who hasn’t played since mid-April due to a hamstring injury, would show signs of rust in his return to the pitch, but those concerns were alleviated immediately and emphatically.
Osorio, who recently made his return from an eight-match absence, was limited to a role off the bench on Thursday, but the Toronto FC midfielder still managed to get roughly 30 minutes under his belt. He’ll likely play a bigger role in Sunday’s final.
The 26-year-old was the only defender on the bench for Canada, checking into the game in the 69th minute. Given that Vitória played the full 90 minutes, should Herdman elect to rotate his backline on Sunday, there’s a good chance Kennedy could start.
Hutchinson came off the bench in the 75th minute in what could be his final appearance in a Canada shirt, though it’s likely the Canadian legend will feature in some capacity in Sunday’s Nations League Final, where he seems poised to retire afterwards. Will he cap off his illustrious career with some silverware?
Not a bad substitute to bring off the bench. The 33-year-old winger had just nine touches, though his veteran savviness helped Canada see out the game. There wasn’t enough time to give Hoilett a fair rating.