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Panama’s Perez to miss qualifier vs. USMNT

BlasPerez (Reuters)


SEATTLE- Panamanian national team forward Blas Perez has been a thorn in the side of the U.S. Men’s National Team for several years, but the FC Dallas forward won’t be on the field on Tuesday night when Panama takes on the U.S. in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.

Perez will miss Tuesday’s match after complications of gastrointeritis forced him to stay home in Panama rather than travel here for the upcoming qualifier. The Panamanian federation confirmed Perez’s absence on Twitter on Saturday night.

Perez has started for Panama in their past five meetings with the U.S., scoring two goals (in the 2005 and 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cups), drawing a penalty (in the 2011 Gold Cup) and drawing a red card on Geoff Cameron in a friendly in Panama in 2012. The lanky striker is well-known for his well-timed runs, quality finishing and gamesmanship that keeps defenders on their toes.

Now, without Perez, Panama must cope without their leading goal scorer in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying (Perez has 10 goals in 2014 World Cup qualifying, second most in this qualifying cycle, and most by any player still competing in the HEX). The Canaleros will have to lean on forward Luis Tejada to pick up the slack. The former Real Salt Lake striker has yet to score a goal in 2014 World Cup qualifying, though he did score a goal against the U.S. in Panama’s 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage upset win vs. the U.S.

Panama will have to either turn to forward Rolando Blackburn as a starting forward, or switch to a one-forward attack in order to tap into a solid stable of midfielders. Armando Cooper did not start in Panama’s 0-0 draw vs. Mexico on Friday, but is a quality attacking option for Panama head coach Julio Dely Valdes.

Perez’s absence will strike a major blow to a Panamanian attack that has scored five goals  in four HEX qualifiers, a modest total for a team that has played three of its first four HEX qualifiers at home.

What do you think of this development?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I dont think this will make a huge difference. The USA is highly overrated and only beat CR because of the snow. Panama should still beat the USA easily. USA will qualify and be 3 and out in Brazil as they are a third-rate quality footballing nation.

    • History may not be the best predictor of future success, but exactly how many World Cups has Panama qualified for since 1930? Let me help you out, that would be a big old ZERO, nada, nil. Panama has 5 points after three home matches, and 6 points overall. That is not something to boast about, especially since Panama must play every team ahead of them in the standings on the road.

      If the USA is a 3rd rate nation, which has qualified for every World Cup since 1990, what does that make Panama? Sixth or seventh-rate?

    • Not sure you’re being tongue-in-cheek, or just a hater, but the US is 7-7-3 vs. CR since ’96. Panama will first need to score to beat the US … easily or otherwise, and Panama has only recorded 5 goals in their 4 HEX games (with 3 of ’em having been in Panama). Lastly, this “third-rate quality footballing nation” has qualified for the last 6 WC’s, won or finished 2nd in the last 4 GC’s, was 2nd in the last CONFED Cup, and won their group in the last WC … geez, what would they have to do to become a “second-rate” footballing nation?

  2. Even with him they were going to struggle to beat us. Now they will park the bus and try to sweat out a 0-0. We have to score early, make them run while we hold the ball, and then we can have some fun and pad the goal differential when they get tired.

    • Holding the ball, especially when we have the lead, is something we haven’t done very well. I’m sure it drives Klinsmann crazy to see the US let the other team control the game like they did in the second half vs. Jamaica.

  3. This only helps the US. Still the yanks can’t take panama lightly and if they don’t this could be a statement game making Seattle another impenetrable fortress for the US.

  4. I actually feel sympathy for Panama, I rather have Panama qualified over mexico or the ticos. But, we have to win by at least two or three goals diference!

  5. He scored against the US in 2007 and 2009 gold cups, not “2005 and 2007”, and Panama went on to lose both of them! And the penalty he drew in 2011 was all on Tim Ream for his carelessness and stupidity.

    Lets go USA!

    • This… Blas Perez is Panama’s most Italian player, and draws several fouls and penalties for both club and country. The USMNT can breathe a little easier with him gone.

    • my reaction too. Tejada (Veracruz) is a good striker, and Baloy (Santos Laguna) is one of the better CB’s in concacaf but besides that their lineup shouldn’t trouble the US too much without Perez.


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