Costa Rica's Raquel Rodriguez Cedeño in action during a FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup match against France on July 16, 2010 in Bochum, Germany. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
DAVID, Panama – In order to gear up for the start of Women’s World Cup Qualifying in Central America later this month, host Panama and Costa Rica will play the first of two friendlies on Wednesday at the Estadio San Cristobal.
The second match will take place two days later at the same venue.
Panama head coach Raiza Gutierrez views the series as an essential element of her team’s pre-tournament preparations.
"These games will help us to observe and determine the players who will be ready for May’s Central American Cup and with whom we will work harder," said Gutierrez.
In the regional qualifying competition, from which two teams will advance to the CONCACAF finals later this year, Panama is in Group A with Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.
Costa Rica took the short trip south to its neighbor on Monday with 18 players, five of whom were part of the under-20 team that qualified in January for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Included in the selection is 14-year-old midfielder Gloriana Villalobos, a standout performer at both the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship and the recently completed FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Also taking part is Raquel Rodriguez Cedeño, who – at 20-years-old – is already veteran of every CONCACAF women’s competition at all age groups. The Penn State forward competed at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
"These are very important preparation games in order to correct details ahead of UNCAF qualifying,” said head coach Carlos Avedessian. “We have a great team where we have many experienced and foreign-based players who have played in World Cups as well as young players who have managed to adapt and contribute to the group.”
The Ticas will meet El Salvador and Nicaragua in Group B at Central American qualifying competition, which starts on May 20 in Guatemala.
COSTA RICA WOMEN’S ROSTER
(International friendlies: May 7 & 9, 2014 – away v Panama)
Wendy Acosta, Katherine Alvarado, María Fernanda Barrantes, Mariana Benavides, Noelia Bermudez, Mariela Campos, Viviana Chinchilla, Daniela Cruz, Maria Garro, Cristin Granados, Gabriela Guillen, Lixy Rodriguez, Raquel Rodríguez Cedeño, Diana Saenz, Carol Sanchez, Marianne Ugalde, Mariela Vazquez, Gloriana Villalobos