San Francisco FC's Michael Murillo (#4 red jersey) could earn a call-up to Panama for its friendly against visiting Guatemala on August 10, 2016, in Panama City. (Photo: Mexsport)
PANAMA CITY, Panama – With key World Cup qualifiers for both the following month, Panama will host Guatemala in an international friendly on August 10 at the Estadio Maracana, it was announced Monday.
Since the match doesn’t fall on a FIFA date, the Federación Panameña de Fútbol said in a press release that head coach Hernan Dario Gomez will use only locally-based players.
Panama (2W-1D-1L, 7 points) currently sits second in Group B play, three points behind Costa Rica. In their last two fourth-round games, the Canaleros will host Jamaica on September 2 and visit Costa Rica four days later. A win over the Caribbean champion Jamaicans will guarantee progression.
Guatemala’s road to the Hexagonal through Group C is more complicated. The Chapines (2-0-2, 6) are a single point behind the second-place United States and trail table-topping Trinidad & Tobago by four points. They will meet the host Trinidadians on September 2 and then take on visiting – and already eliminated – St. Vincent & the Grenadines on September 6. A loss to T&T, combined with a U.S. win over SVG, will eliminate the Central American side from contention.
In their last meeting on January 25, 2013, Panama posted a 3-1 win over Guatemala in a Central American Cup encounter.