Midfielder Edgar Yoel Barcenas (pictured) is expected to get the starting nod for Panama in its World Cup qualifier against visiting Trinidad & Tobago on September 5, 2017, in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: AFP Services)
PANAMA CITY, Panama – In the midst of a six-game World Cup Qualifying winless streak, Panama (1W-4D-2L, 7 points) will make lineup changes Tuesday, when it hosts Trinidad & Tobago (1-0-6, 4) at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
Panama currently sit fifth in the CONCACAF Hexagonal table on seven points, one behind the United States and Honduras.
“Us winning [on Tuesday], we enter into the fight, [if we win] we are in the top four, the top three,” said head coach Hernan Dario Gomez. “I have a fresh team. I have seven changes. It is a team that we have worked with. I chose this team for the match against Trinidad. It is an advantage.”
As confirmed by the Federación Panameña de Fútbol, Gomez plans to use a starting XI consisting of Jose Calderon (goalkeeper); Luis Ovalle, Fidel Escobar, Roman Torres and Michael Murillo (defenders); Anibal Godoy, Gabriel Gomez, Edgar Yoel Barcenas and Alberto Quintero (midfielders); and Blas Gomez and Gabriel Torres (forwards).
Only Calderon, Ovalle, Godoy and Gabriel Gomez started in last Friday’s 1-0 loss at Mexico, while Escobar, Quintero and Gabriel Torres all came off the bench in the second half.
After spending two extra days training in Mexico City, Gomez is upbeat that Panamanians can beat T&T for the first-ever time in WCQ play (0-0-5).
“I see them very positive. I see them optimistic,” the 61-year-old Colombian finished. “Now [it’s time] to get those three points in order to be more comfortable.”