Alberto Quintero (red jersey) was part of the Panama squad that finished third in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida – If Panama wants to make its first-ever World Cup appearance less than two years from now, it must first navigate CONCACAF qualifying.
A win against visiting Jamaica on Friday will earn the Canaleros a place in the final round, where it take 10 additional steps down the Russia 2018 road.
Midfielder Alberto Quintero is calling on the Panamanian fans to support the cause fully.
“If we want to get to the World Cup, we need the support of the fans,” said the 28-year-old. “We know that the critics are always going to be there. We always go in with the intention of winning every match…sometimes it’s tough. We are going home once again and we hope the (Estadio) Rommel (Fernandez) fills up. We need the backing of the fans. All the players here with the national team are committed to giving them joy.”
Through four, fourth-round matches, Panama has scored only four goals while going 2W-1D-1L and occupying second place in Group B, three points behind Costa Rica. Quintero believes that increasing offensive output is essential for future success.
“We have a very good group,” he remarked. “You have to go out to win no matter what at home and play well in front of our fans. You have to be decisive up front. The goalscorers are scoring goals for their teams and we hope that they score here with the national team, which is what we need.”
On a personal level, Quintero has adapted well to life in MLS, scoring three goals in 24 games for the San Jose Earthquakes after being loaned from Mexico’s Lobos BUAP on February 24, 2016.
“I feel good, I feel like I have a lot of confidence,” finished the former Chorrillo FC standout. “In the short time I’ve been in MLS, I have adapted well. I am playing at an important level and now, with the national team, I am going to continue doing my job, winning the trust of the manager and helping the national team in every way I can.”
Quintero is searching for his first-ever World Cup Qualifying goal after appearing in 18 previous matches.