Panama on Wednesday named their roster for their critical World Cup qualifiers against the US and Costa Rica next month, calling six MLS players to a squad set to battle the Americans for CONCACAF’s third and final automatic World Cup berth.
New York Red Bulls defenders Michael Murillo and Fidel Escobar, Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres, Houston Dynamo defender Adolfo Machado, San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Anibal Godoy and Toronto FC midfielder Armando Cooper were selected to the 22-man roster that will play the US in Orlando on Oct. 6 (7 pm ET | ESPN) before hosting Costa Rica in the Hex finale on Oct. 10.
Panama are currently in third in the Hexagonal standings, one point ahead of the US. The top-three Hex finishers automatically qualify for next summer’s FIFA World Cup, while the fourth-place nation will face Australia or Syria in a home-and-home playoff in November for one spot in Russia. Honduras is also in the running for third and fourth, as they’re tied with the US on nine points. Mexico have already clinched their spot at the World Cup, while Costa Rica are a virtual lock to qualify.
In addition to the six current MLSers named to the squad, Panama’s roster features several other players very familiar to MLS fans. Longtime FC Dallas forward Blas Perez, ex-LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and former Colorado Rapids attacker Gabriel Torres are among the players on Panama’s roster who at one point played in the league.
Panama are looking to qualify for their first World Cup.