Five Things to Know: Panama

Presented by Thorne


The United States has never lost to Los Canaleros in World Cup qualifying. The Americans are 6-0-2 overall and unbeaten in four appearances (2-0-2) in Panama City. In their first encounter in the Canal Zone, the Americans pulled out a 1-1 draw on a stoppage-time goal by Cobi Jones on Sept. 8, 2004.

They left no doubt in their next match there, connecting for three first-half scores en route to a 3-0 shutout on June 8, 2005. Carlos Bocanegra, Landon Donovan and Brian McBride found the range. Kasey Keller took home a clean sheet.


WATCH: Panama 0-3 USMNT | June 8, 2005


In the Oct. 15, 2013, match in Panama, the USA broke the hosts' hearts by denying them a spot in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil by scoring twice in extra-time. Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson found the range in injury time in a 3-2 triumph for the USMNT, which already had booked a spot in Brazil. Ironically, the result saved Mexico’s hopes for qualifying, as a U.S. win would have eliminated them from contention.


WATCH: Panama 2-3 USMNT | Oct. 15, 2013


In the most recent contest between the squads in Panama City on March 28, 2017, the teams played to a 1-1 draw. Clint Dempsey scored in the 39th minute off a Christian Pulisic steal before Gabriel Gomez knotted things up four minutes later after a throw-in.



The Central Americans failed to advance out of the opening round of the Concacaf Gold Cup, finishing with a 1-1-1 record. They started out with a 3-3 draw against Panama, followed by a 3-2 loss to Honduras before competing group play with a 3-2 win over Grenada.

Panama has experienced problems accruing points in WCQ. It played to a scoreless home draw vs. Costa Rica on Sept. 2, before rebounding with a 3-0 victory at Jamaica on Sept. 5 as Andres Andrade, Rolando Blackburn and Cecilio Waterman scored.

In the Sept. 8 home encounter with Mexico, the Panamanians played to a 1-1 draw. Blackman gave Panama aa 28th-minute lead before El Tri equalized behind Jesus Corona in the 76th minute.

On Thursday, Los Canaleros fell at El Salvador, 1-0, on Enrico Duenas' 37th-minute goal.


Thomas Christiansen, a native of Denmark, took over Panama's head coaching reigns on July 23, 2020, replacing American Gallego. He has guided the Central Americans to a 10-5-6 mark.

The 48-year-old Christiansen played for several clubs in his native country, as well as Spain and Germany during a 15-year professional career. His teams included Barcelona, Sporting Gijon, Racing Santander, Oviedo and Villarreal in Spain and with Bochum and Hannover in Germany. He was the Bundesliga's joint-leading goal-scorer with Bayern Munich's Giovane Élber during the 2002-03 season. He played twice for Spain's national team, scoring one goal.

He turned to coaching, directing AEK Larmaca and APOEL in Greece, Leeds United in England and Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium.



Christiansen called in 27 players from a dozen countries for the October qualifying window. The list included Belgium, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Israel, Japan, Panama, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Uruguay, the USA and Venezuela.

Forwards Abdiel Arroyo (Maccabi Petah Tikva, Israel) Gabriel Torres (Alajuelense, Costa Rica), Freddy Góndola (Táchira, Venezuela) and Ismael Díaz (Tauro, Panama) were among seven players called into the squad who were not on the September roster. Torres, who has recorded a team-high 22 goals in 97 international appearances, scored against the USA in a 3-2 WCQ loss in Panama City in 2013.

Five players perform domestically - goalkeeper José Calderón (San Francisco), defenders Jorge Gutiérrez (Tauro) and Jorge Gutiérrez (Tauro), midfielder Cristian Martínez (Plaza Amador) and Diaz.

Always Ready (Bolivia) has the largest club representation with three players - goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera, defender and captain Harold Cummings (76 caps), and forward Jair Catuy.

Panama has veteran leadership, with seven players over the age of 30. Midfielders Armando Cooper (118 caps), 33, Alberto Quintero (114), 33, and Anibal Godoy (109), 31, have amassed more than 100 caps apiece. Godoy plays for Nashville SC in Major League Soccer.

Forward Rolando Blackburn (The Strongest, Bolivia) leads Los Canaleros with two qualifying scores.

Goalkeeper Luis Mejia, who performs for Fénix (Uruguay), has backstopped the first four qualifiers.

The roster:

Goalkeepers: José Calderón (San Francisco, Panama), Luis Mejía (Fénix, Uruguay), Orlando Mosquera (Always Ready, Bolivia)

Defenders: César Blackman (Dunajská Streda, Slovakia), Harold Cummings (Always Ready, Bolivia), Eric Davis (Dunajská Streda, Slovakia), Fidel Escobar (Alcorcón, Spain), Jorge Gutiérrez (Tauro, Panama), Óscar Linton (Imabari, Japan), Michael Amir Murillo (Anderlecht, Belgium), Jiovany Ramos (Atlético Venezuela, Venezuela)

Midfielders: Abdiel Ayarza (Cienciano, Peru), Yoel Bárcenas (Leganés, Spain), Armando Cooper (Maccabi Petah Tikva, Israel), Aníbal Godoy (Nashville, USA), Eduardo Guerrero (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel), Cristian Martínez (Plaza Amador, Panama), Alberto Quintero (Universitario), José Luis Rodríguez (Gijón, Spain), César Yanis (Zaragoza, Spain)

Forwards: Abdiel Arroyo (Maccabi Petah Tikva, Israel), Rolando Blackburn (The Strongest, Bolivia), Jair Catuy (Always Ready, Bolivia), Ismael Díaz (Tauro, Panama), Freddy Góndola (Táchira, Veneziela), Alfredo Stephens (Aragua, Venezuela), Gabriel Torres (Alajuelense, Costa Rica)