Panama is used to playing finals against their CONCACAF rivals. At least in the Maurice Revelo tournament and the Gold Cup this year, the Canal team fought a small series of matches until they reached the date all their rivals wanted. It was not an easy task, as they had to beat favorites the United States last night in a match that went to penalties (5-4, after 1-1 in regular time) to achieve a new goal in their growing project on an international scale. ..
It was only this past June, at a youth team competition held in France, that the Panama U-23 class won its first title against Mexico, one of the other purported powerhouses in the region. Not content with this, he shows in the series Against the Stars and Stripes how dangerous his star team can be when thousands of fans underestimate him.
Unbeaten since the group stage where they were leaders, the Panamanians silenced the stands of Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego after 90 minutes even when they could have made a difference. Despite the wear and tear and increasing attacks of his rival, Evan Anderson carried on his shoulders the Channel Residents by advancing to the last division.
On a break from the right, in line with the last defender to avoid offside, Anderson confronted goalkeeper Matt Turner and left him behind by pumping the ball and then making it 1-0 with an open goal (99th minute). Not that the United States has since given up its weapons, but it has been slow to undo its power.
More than just building a team game, those led by BJ Callaghan benefited from the genius of Jesús Ferreira, the most unbalanced player in attack and author of the equalizing volley at the end of the first overtime (105). What ensued with a penalty shootout was a mixture of drama, suspense and stupor, all as failures by Ferreira and Cristian Roldán lead to victory for Adalberto Carrasquilla.
And so, with a firm project for the future, Panama will play the Gold Cup final for the third time on Sunday.