Panama trains in Costa Rica ahead of Cuba showdown

Action from the scrimmage between Panama (white jersey) and the Herediano under-20 team on January 5, 2016, in Alajuela, Costa Rica. (Photo: Federación Panameña de Fútbol)

ALAJUELA, Costa Rica – With its Copa America Centenario qualifying playoff against Cuba quickly approaching, Panama continued preparing in Costa Rica with a double training session at the Federación Costarricense de Fútbol’s Project Goal facility.

In the morning, the squad worked on defensive and midfield play, with a specific focus on maintaining possession.

Later in the afternoon, the Canaleros scrimmaged against the under-20 side of Costa Rican power Herediano. Gabriel Torres scored two goals and Abdiel Arroyo added another over the course of two, 30-minute halves.

"The purpose of this practice was to work on the ball and the opposing pressure," said assistant coach Nelson Gallego.

The Central Americans are expected to train only once on Wednesday, before returning to Panama on Thursday.

 They will host Cuba in the second game of a doubleheader on Friday at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez for CONCACAF’s sixth and last berth in the 2016 Copa America Centenario. Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti will meet in the opener for the fifth berth.

 The United States (host), Mexico (automatic qualifier), Costa Rica (2014 Central American Cup champion) and Jamaica (2014 Caribbean Cup champion) have already earned places in the competition with each of CONMEBOL’s member associations.