Panama closed out its first appearance at the FIFA World Cup with a 2-1 loss to Tunisia Thursday at Mordovia Arena in Saransk, finishing 0-3-0 in Group G.
Captain Roman Torres from Seattle Sounders FC was one of four MLS players in Hernan Dario Gomez’s starting XI against Tunisia, but the veteran central defender, whose dramatic goal against Costa Rica helped book Los Canaleros' trip to Russia, limped off with an apparent left ankle injury in the 56th minute. He handed his armband to Luis Tejada, who entered as his replacement.
Torres, Fidel Escobar of the New York Red Bulls and San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Anibal Godoy each earned their third start with Escobar and Godoy playing the full 90 minutes, while Adolfo Machado of the Houston Dynamo replaced the suspended Michael Murillo from the Red Bulls at right back.
In the 33rd minute, Torres helped Panama take their first World Cup lead. After his shot was blocked, he served a ball to Jose Luis Rodriguez, whose deflected in off Tunisia defender Yassine Meriah for an own goal.
Torres made sure Panama had a halftime lead, clearing an attempt off the line in stoppage time following a good save by Penedo after an initial block by Escobar.
Harold Cummings from San Jose made his World Cup debut for the start of the second half, coming on as a halftime sub for an injured Gabriel Torres.
Tunisia leveled in the 51st minute with Fakhreddine Ben Youssef tapped in a first-time ball from Wahbi Khazri, who also put the Eagles of Carthage in front in the 66th minute.
Panama had two late quality chances to equalize but Gomez was unable to latch onto Luis Ovalle’s teasing cross along the six-yard box and Edgar Barcenas put a direct free kick directly into goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi in stoppage time.