Panama vs. Martinique
2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup – Group B, Matchday 3
FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland, Ohio
July 15, 2017 – 4:30 pm ET
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While the US national team's final group match against Nicaragua will understandably get top billing, the early meeting at FirstEnergy Stadium between Panama and Martinique has the potential to be quite an exciting 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup game.
Both sides have proven themselves not only capable of holding their own against the United States, but doing so while playing athletic, attacking-minded football. And they'll be meeting for just the second time in Gold Cup competition, a tournament in which a lack of familiarity often leads to more open encounters.
Martinique forward -- and former Seattle Sounders prospect -- Kevin Parsemain hit a brace to lead a two-goal comeback before Martinique ultimately fell 3-2 to the United States on Wednesday. Parsemain is the second player to reach three goals in the tournament, following the lead of Canada's Alphonso Davies a day earlier.
Meanwhile, Panama made their own impressive response in a 2-1 victory against Nicaragua after going behind. First, 20-year-old FC Porto reserve Ismael Diaz equalized just 64 seconds after Carlos Chavarria scored the first goal in Nicaragua's Gold Cup history. Then former Colorado Rapids man Gabriel Torres followed seven minutes later with his first Gold Cup goal since hitting five to share Golden Boot honors in the 2013 tournament.
Both teams also could potentially win the group with a victory over the weekend -- though the US would have to draw or lose -- so there is plenty at stake here.
Diaz's second senior international goal was just reward for a promising 69-minute performance, one in which the forward registered a team-high tying four shots while combining with Yoel Barcenas down the right all game.
And as Panama resume World Cup Qualifying in search of their first finals berth, he would be a name for CONCACAF foes to be wary of, especially if coach Hernan Dario Gomez's group needs a goal late.
Currently sitting fourth, Los Canaleros have scored only four times in six matches in the Hexagonal round. And Diaz has already been blooded a little in qualifying, playing 96 minutes over two appearances (one start).
Kevin Parsemain won't have known much about the second goal that sealed the first brace in Martinique's Gold Cup history.
After seeing his close-range effort denied by US 'keeper Brad Guzan, Parsemain was still on the ground at the 6-yard-box as the ball fell to John Audel, who drove in a low effort.
Replays suggested Audel's strike may have been going wide. Instead, it struck Parsemain's legs and looped over a wrongfooted Guzan as Martinique scored twice for a second time in this tournament, and just a third time in their 13-match Gold Cup tenure.
Goalkeepers (3): Jose Calderon (CD Marathon, HON); Orlando Mosquera (Tauro FC, PAN); Alex Rodriguez (San Francisco FC, PAN)
Defenders (8): Roberto Chen (Deportivo Arabe Unido, PAN); Eric Davis (FC DAC 1904 DunajskA Streda, SVK); Fidel Escobar (Unattached); Roderick Miller (Atlético Nacional, COL); Michael Amir Murillo (New York Red Bulls, USA); Luis Ovalle (Unattached); Angel Patrick (Deportivo Arabe Unido, PAN); Jan Carlos Vargas (Tauro FC, PAN)
Midfielders (8): Edgar Yoel Barcenas (Cafetaleros de Tapachula, MEX); Miguel Camargo (New York City FC, USA); Armando Cooper (Toronto FC, CAN); Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes, USA); Gabriel Gomez (Atlético Bucaramanga, COL); Leslie Heraldez (Deportivo Arabe Unido, PAN); Josiel Nuñez (CD Plaza Amador, PAN); Valentin Pimentel (CD Plaza Amador, PAN)
Fowards (4): Abdiel Arroyo (Danubio FC, URU); Ricardo Clarke (Unattached); Ismael Diaz (FC Porto, POR); Gabriel Torres (FC Lausanne-Sport, SUI)
Manager: Hernan Dario Gomez (Colombia)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Loic Chauvet (CS Case-Pilote / MTQ), Kevin Olimpa (Platanias FC / GRE), Emmanuel Vermignon (Club Colonial / MTQ)
DEFENDERS (7): Sebastien Cretinoir (Golden Lion de Saint-Joseph / MTQ), Jordy Delem (Seattle Sounders / USA), Gerald Dondon (Club Colonial / MTQ), Antoine Jean-Baptiste (FC Villefranche / FRA), Florian Narcissot (Club Franciscain / MTQ), Karl Vitulin (AS Samaritaine / MTQ), Nicolas Zaire (Club Franciscain / MTQ)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Stephane Abaul (Club Franciscain / MTQ), Daniel Herelle (Golden Lion de Saint-Joseph / MTQ), Christof Jougon (Club Franciscain / MTQ), Djenhael Mainge (Club Franciscain / MTQ), Jean-Manuel Nedra (Aiglon du Lamentin / MTQ), Yann Thimon (Golden Lion de Saint-Joseph / MTQ)
FORWARDS (7): Anthony Angely (Poitiers FC / FRA), Yoann Arquin (Mansfield Town / ENG), Johan Audel (Beitar Jerusalem / ISR), Steeven Langil (Waasland-Beveren / BEL), Johnny Marajo (Club Franciscain / MTQ), Kevin Parsemain (Golden Lion de Saint-Joseph / MTQ), Gregory Pastel (RC Riviere-Pilote / MTQ