KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Luis Tejada scored a goal in second-half stoppage time, earning Panama a last-gasp 1-1 draw with Canada on Tuesday night at Livestrong Sporting Park that, coupled with the US defeat of Guadaloupe, eliminated the Canadians.
Canada looked headed for a victory in their Group C finale thanks to Dwayne De Rosario’s second-half penalty kick, but second-half substitute Tejada poked home a scramble in the goalmouth past Milan Borjan in the 91st minute.
With the victory, Panama finished atop the group for the first time in tournament history, while Canada failed to advance out of the group stage for the first time in three tournaments.
Panama coach Julio Dely Valdés fielded a lineup of mostly substitutes — only five starters were among the starting lineup that beat the US, and regulars Amílcar Henriquez, Nelson Barahona and No. 1 ‘keeper Jaime Penedo weren’t even in the 18.
But Canada still couldn’t finish some early chances against the Panamanians, who were content to play conservatively over the first 45 and rely on captain Felipe Baloy and fellow center back Adolfo Machado to spoil the Canadians’ efforts in the final third.
The Canucks got an early look just just four minutes in when Simeon Jackson — deployed as a lone forward — took a pass down the right side from Julian de Guzman and dribbled past Baloy and left back Luis Henríquez. But the Norwich City striker skied a shot high over Luis Mejía’s goal.
Stephen Hart flipped his wing men 20 minutes in as De Rosario shifted wide left in the place of Josh Simpson, who pushed wide right. But Canada still couldn’t crack the spine of Panama’s defense despite some decent flank play.
Canada’s got a good look on frame in the 29th minute, when de Guzman was on the end of a quick combo between Nik Ledgerwood and De Rosario, but the Toronto FC midfielder’s shot was swatted away by Mejía. Four minutes later, Simpson hit De Rosario breaking in from the left, but the New York Red Bulls midfielder smashed a drive into the side netting.
The Canucks finally got their break 15 minutes into the second half when De Rosario was dragged down in the box by Panama midfielder Eybir Bonaga while going for Will Johnson’s centering header. Referee Walter Pérez pointed to the spot, and De Ro buried the ensuing kick for his second PK goal in as many games.
De Rosario’s goal was the 17th of his Canadian national-team career and moved him past Alex Bunbury into third on the all-time list.
Canada maintained pressure in the second half and held possession, but were unable to add to their lead despite a laser-volley in the 77th minute. Panama nearly equalized in the 86th when Baloy’s header off a corner flew just over Milan Borjan’s goal, but Canada’s defense held tight until the final ticks, when Pérez stunned the Canadians.
CAN -- De Rosario, 62’
PAN -- Tejada, 91’
CAN -- Simpson (caution), 51’
CAN -- Dunfield (caution), 58’
PAN -- Pérez (caution), 62’
Canada: Milan Borjan; Nik Ledgerwood, Andre Hainault, Kevin McKenna (c), Mike Klukowski; Terry Dunfield, Julian de Guzman, Will Johnson (Pedro Pacheco, 85’), Josh Simpson (Tosaint Ricketts, 73’), Dwayne De Rosario; Simeon Jackson
Substitutes not used: Lars Hirschfeld, Rob Friend, Ali Gerba, Jaime Peters, Jonathan Beaulieu-Borgault
Panama: Luis Mejía; Luis Henríquez, Felipe Baloy (c), Adolfo Machado, Eduardo Dasent; Eric Davis, Gabriel Gómez, Eybir Bonaga (Aníbal Godoy, 79’), Alberto Quintero (Armando Cooper, 68’); Luis Rentería (Luis Tejada, 71’), Blas Pérez
Substitutes not used: Kevin Melgar, Harold Cummings, Aramis Haywood, Renan Addles