Action from the international friendly between Panama and host Mexico (white jersey) on October 13, 2015, in Toluca. (Photo: Adid Jimenez/Straffon Images)
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Heavy rain in Panama City on Monday forced Panama to cancel a training session in preparation for an October 11 international friendly against Mexico.
Missing an opportunity to work with his team left head coach Hernan Dario Gomez anxious.
“This match with Mexico has me worried,” said Gomez. “It is a scary match in that we are not training a lot. We are not working and Mexico is a team, whoever they put out there, that has much higher quality. I am thinking more about that.”
The encounter will serve as barometer for Panama as it works towards the launch of next month’s CONCACAF Hexagonal, the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Facing the current Gold Cup champion will update Gomez on the current status of his team.
“This match with Mexico is going to help us add more people,” the 60-year-old Colombia stressed. “It is a match that dictates a lot for us, such as the Hexagonal and the future of Panamanian football, which continues its formation.”
One player who is likely to get his first chance in a Panama uniform is Tony Taylor. The California-born striker -- the son of Panamanian parents -- represented the United States at the youth national team level, but is now part of Panama’s senior team setup. Gomez feels that the New York City FC player can give the Panamanian attack a new wrinkle.
“Taylor can be a distinctive footballer on the offensive end,” concluded Gomez. “Tony is capable of player one or two touches and that gives him a different dynamic.”