Panama head coach Hernan Dario Gomez shouts out instruction during a Central American Cup match against Nicaragua on September 10, 2014, in Houston. (Photo: Mexsport)
HOUSTON, Texas – Thanks to a 3-0 Central American Cup (CCA) victory over Nicaragua on Wednesday, Panama secured a spot in the competition’s third place match and qualified for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The Canaleros completed Group B play level with defending champion Costa Rica on points with four, but ended as the runner-up on goal difference (+3 to +2).
In the 2013 CCA, Panama finished in fifth place, but advanced all the way to the Gold Cup final later in the year before falling 1-0 to the United States.
Although head coach Hernan Dario Gomez sees progress, he emphasized the need for Panama to do even better against El Salvador on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“There was some anxiety,” said Gomez of the Nicaragua encounter. “The team was recovering the ball well, but wasn’t very precise. We must improve things.”
The triumph in Houston extended Panama’s record Copa Centroamericana unbeaten streak to 13 matches. It needed to win by four goals, though, to win the group and set up a meeting in the final against Group A winner Guatemala.
“They could have scored more goals,” Gomez noted. “There were good moments and tough moments.”
Gomez signaled that the physical demands of two games in four days will likely lead to squad ahead the El Salvador encounter.
“The changes are obligatory due to fatigue,” concluded the Colombian. “There are tired players. I’ll have to see how they are.”