Panama topped Trinidad & Tobago 6-5 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time, putting the 2013 finalists into this year's semifinals. In the ninth round of PKs, LA Galaxy 'keeper Jaime Penedo pushed Lester Peltier's attempt off the woodwork to put los Canaleros through.
Penedo's save was a spectacular capper to an intense yet sloppy 10 minutes of penalties, which included multiple shots blasted well over the bar. Colorado Rapids attacker Gaby Torres and FC Dallas forward Blas Perez both converted theirs for the winners, while Joevin Jones of the Chicago Fire put his attempt into the crowd for T&T.
Earlier in the day, Panama took the lead late in the first half thanks to a familiar face. All-time leading scorer Luis Tejada pounced on a poor clearance in the T&T box to slot home his 40th goal for his national team, extending his all-time mark for los Canaleros. Tejada had an unmarked look from 10 yards after Perez pressured the T&T defense - and specifically Sheldon Bateau, who had been nearly flawless in the Soca Warriors' group stage campaign - into a loose touch in the exact wrong spot.
The equalizer came on the other side of halftime courtesy of T&T captain Kenwyne Jones, who had imposed his physicality all game and was a constant menace on restarts. True to form, it was a set piece off of which Jones punished Panama, rising above defender Harold Cummings to nod past Penedo.
From there it became a battle of attrition, as both teams spent most of the rest of regulation locked in a less-than-beautiful defensive struggle. Perez had the best look in regulation, but he pulled his open, one-time volley from 8 yards wide of the far post following an inch-perfect cross from left back Eric Davis.
With T&T's energy flagging, Panama continued to have the better of play in extra time. That included several good looks for Perez and midfielder Alberto Quintero, but no breakthrough was to be found ahead of the shootout.
Panama wil face either Mexico or Costa Rica in Wednesday's second semifinal.