Panama knocks out Mexico to earn rematch of 2005 Gold Cup final

BlasPerezPanama1-GoldCup (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

For the first time since 2005, Mexico will not be appearing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

The Mexican National Team fell to Panama, 2-1, on Wednesday evening at Cowboys Stadium, ending their Gold Cup run in the semifinals for the first time in 22 years. The result sends Panama to just their second Gold Cup final ever and it could also spell the end of Jose Manuel De La Torre’s time as manager of El Tri.

For the second time in the 2013 Gold Cup, Mexico trailed Panama early in the match. Blas Perez was put through on goal in the 13th minute, and with the tightest of angles, hammered home a shot past El Tri goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco for a confidence boosting lead.

Mexico didn’t fold, and pressed for an equalizer. After some terrific solo work down the left wing by El Tri midfielder Marco Fabian in the 26th minute, the 23-year-old sent in a long cross through the 18-yard box, where midfielder Luis Montes met it with a diving header that rocketed in for a goal to tie the match.

Just when the game seemed to be in the balance, Panama took control from a set piece. Panamanian forward Gabriel Torres, who has scored five goals in the tournament, instead turned provider, whipping in a terrific corner kick into the middle of the area in the 60th minute. Defender Roman Torres timed his run to perfection, putting a glancing header on the ball that gave Orozco no chance to make a save.

Now with the lead in control, Panama was able to sit back and absorb the Mexican pressure, taking advantage of their height to head away crosses into the box, though Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime Penedo made three game-saving saves to earn his team another massive win for their nation.

With the victory, Panama will face the U.S. Men’s National Team in the final, a rematch of Panama’s only other Gold Cup final experience, from back in 2005. The U.S. won that match, 3-1, in penalty kicks, after a scoreless 120 minutes.

The meeting marks the fifth straight Gold Cup where the U.S. and Panama meet in the knockout rounds. Panama has never beaten the Americans in the knockout rounds.

What did you think of Panama’s performance? Disappointed to see Mexico fall short? Were you hoping for a USA-Mexico rematch, or are you happy to see ‘El Tri’ eliminated in the semifinals? See the U.S. beating Panama in the final?

Share your thoughts below.

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47 Responses to Panama knocks out Mexico to earn rematch of 2005 Gold Cup final

  1. Valdo says:

    No!! Now we won’t get our own 5-0.

    • Lil' Zeke says:

      Content yourself with “dos a cero” — two finals appearances in our Confeds Cup year to zero for our friends south of the frontera

      • SBI TroII says:

        Never be content in life. I wish Jürgen’s boys had the chance to humiliate Mexico. Guess we’ll have to wait until the Columbus qualifier.

    • JayAre says:

      I was thinking the same thing.

    • Ramon says:

      El Tri fans have no shame. You lost and you sassy little Mexico fans still talking and tossing trash. Pathetic!

    • Beto says:

      Mmhm, i was hoping for revenge of 2009 but Panama desirves a trip to the final. Props to Ives for calling the win

  2. bizzy says:

    wow…… Panama beat Mexico convincingly. I guess they should have brought in Barrera, Chicharito Dos Santos etc. The final isn’t the same without Mexico but oh well…….

    • bryan says:

      admittedly, i only saw the 2nd half, but Mexico could have easily gone ahead or tied that game. Panama didn’t “convincingly” beat Mexico, IMO.

      • dfs says:

        Up until Mexico’s goal Panama we creating a whole lot of chances. Granted it was more even after that and the last 15 minutes were park the bus time for Panama.

  3. 2tone says:

    Now we will be looking at a half empty stadium for the final.

    51,000 tickets were sold for the final, but I guarantee a majority of those tickets sold were to Mexican team fans.

    Panama was by far the better team.

    The two best teams in the tournament are now facing off in the final. Go USA!

    • Goalscorer24 says:

      Wow Mexico out. Both happy and disappointed. Panama are a very dangerous team, and they will be hungry. They could give us a lot of trouble!

      • Neruda says:

        Is this the same Panama A side that the US dominated in Seattle earlier this summer? If anything they’re better with Blas up top. If so, it’s going to be the US B+ team against Panamas A+ team. I think the Yanks will win again because Donovan continues to shine as the opposition gets tougher.

  4. someAhole says:

    Should we call them Mexiifail or lolxico?

  5. Herbert Maldonado says:

    Panama wins 3-2 against the Americans.

    • Troy says:

      Then you woke up…best of luck and impressive run

    • Gnarls says:

      Flip the results and I think it’s a fair scoreline. Gnarlstradamus predicts goals from Donovan, EJ, and Corona. Donovan assists on both.

  6. Yawnster says:

    At first, I was rooting for Panama figuring they would be an easier opponent for the US in the finals. By about half time, I realized that I should be rooting for Mexico if I wanted to improve our chances on Sunday!

    • Troy says:

      Nah if we can convincingly beat Panama that would mean alot because they have good form. Honestly I kind of expect what happened to Honduras because they played a tough game just like Honduras had against Costa Rica.

    • Rick says:

      Agree with you on this because Panama is no walk over. To beat Mexico two times in the same tournament and did it convincingly prove that they pose a real threat.

  7. Benny says:

    It was a really good game. Panama came out strong and dominated Mexico; then Mexico gets the tying goal and dominated possession and had some good chances to take the lead before the half. In the second half , after Panama scored, Panama just absorbed a lot of pressure but also gave Mexico some great chances to equalize. If it were not for Penedo making some great saves, Mexico might be in the final. It would not be a shock if Panama wins the GC, but I just think the U.S. takes it.

  8. Mike says:

    Tahiti….

  9. SBI TroII says:

    This game will be a quality test. Out of all top teams in the region, I believe Panama has the most players from their A-team. They also earned their way here beating Mexico twice and winning their group. This should more even than some our lopsided wins.

    • bryan says:

      it’s the same game as Seattle except we don’t have our A team. can’t wait to see how we do against their A team. Mexico dominated them in basically everything except goals and i think our team is stronger than Mexico.

  10. Neruda says:

    The top 4 in CONCOCAF before this GC were US, Honduras, CR and Mexico. Now I wonder if Panama can turn it up a notch in WCQ and play spoiler at least. They still play Mexico and Honduras but both are road games. Also the US has to go down to Panama for a game as well.

    • Lost in Space says:

      The final 4 games of the Hex will be very interesting. Depending on the outcome of our 1st game (CR in CR), and what Mexico does (coaching change?) will really set the tone for the end of qualification.
      IF the US wins in CR we’ll have 16 pts and a minimum of 5 pts between the 2nd place team with 3 games (2 home) to play. We’d be in a commanding position, and possibly mathmatically qualified for the WC. That would take all pressure off the US and give some of the younger players some field time.
      Panama is on a role right now….and could very easily play spoiler. If Mexico changes coaches….it may take a game or two for them to adjust. Could leave them vunerable. Would love to see Pan get the 4th playoff spot….maybe even the 3rd.

  11. bryan says:

    the only A team makes the final. this is expected, like Ives has been saying. i thought Mexico could have easily tied or won that game. in fact, i just checked the stats, essentially, the only stat Panama did better in was goals scored. i only watched the 2nd half, but from what i saw, Mexico was much more impressive.

    • Eurosnob says:

      Mexico came into this tournament as one of the favorites to win, but Panama beat them twice in the span of two weeks or so. It’s not a fluke, Panama has Mexico’s number now.

  12. OB Rick says:

    God I love seeing Mexico lose.

  13. junior says:

    Coming from a mexican i’m so glad mexico lost. I hate them. With a passion.

  14. Mike R says:

    Not shocked at all this Mexican “golden generation ” is more like a golden shower generation. Mucho overated.

    Mex can reminisce on their kiddy world cups and kiddy Olympics on the flight to New Zealand

  15. Kosh says:

    People need to take things into perspective here. This Mexican team death knell people are talking about is where we were just last Gold Cup. This is more a matter of a top team in the region being out of sorts with its leader (the coach). The phrase “run out of ideas” are being said like we were saying BB “lost the team” two years ago. It doesn’t mean that BB and Chepo are horrible managers, these things happen because things get too familiar, or stale, or whatever.

    Mexico was the better side on the filed yesterday and in this particular GC – compared to the Mexican side I have watched play – we have the better team. Panama put a lot into that game, while we were subbing out Donovan and Beckerman – key starters for the final. I remember people saying that the CR then Honduras games were going to be the real test for us, the real rough games. Then we step on the field and were the better team – convincingly so in the case of Honduras.

    Congrats to Panama and we’ll see you on Sunday. Chepo may lose his job, which like BB sucks because I do kind’a respect the guy. But for me in the grand scheme of things in CONCACAF the US and Mexico will struggle from time to time as their respective programs come into the natural change/refresh cycles but they both have the talent and infrastructure to come back roaring with less effort and change than any other nation. These two are still the regional giants and will be for a long time.

    • Eurosnob says:

      Getting rid of Bob Bradley was a good thing for US soccer and not simply the matter of players tuning him out. His negative tactics of “bunkering” and “countering” do not lend themselves to lasting success at the international level. By way of comparison, Klinsi’s team has 19-4 goal difference in this tournament, while BB’s team ended the tournament with 9-6 goal difference. This team already scored more than twice from what BB’s team scored and still have one game to play. However, I agree with you that regardless of Mexico’s failed performance in this tournament, US and Mexico will remain the class of the Concacaf for many years.

    • Justin says:

      Good post. I agree with the overall theme – while this year has been a disaster for Mexico, it doesn’t represent anything more than a “down cycle” from which they will recover. They have some real talent, but Chepo’s style got stale, and their veterans are not the type that can drive the team on their own.

      The thing is, with all the less-impactful tournaments (Confed/GC) out of the way, Mexico are now under some serious pressure for the final bouts of WQC. They have already played Jamaica, the only minnow in the Hex, twice. Of their four remaining games, they have two extremely serious road challenges: @ USA and @ Costa Rica. With the way they have played at any level this year, it is reasonable to expect that they are only getting a single point out of these matches, especially considering how dominant the US have been so far (and Costa Rica’s A-squad is not far off). Home games against Honduras and Panama are now absolute must-wins. I don’t think anyone from CONCACAF has advanced out of the Hex with fewer than 3 wins in the modern era, and Mexico will not be the first if they fail to reach that mark.

      The point is that Mexico are actually in serious danger of missing the WQ, and making the inter-continental playoff against NZ is no sure thing. With all this at stake, how do you transition to a new coach and/or new style scant weeks before the Honduras game? Do they even have a choice in the matter? Mexico may recover at some point, but right now, they may not have even reached the bottom of this “down cycle”.

      • Kosh says:

        Excellent points, Justin. You know it’s funny that that was the fate many had prophesied for us when JK was going through the rough transition period. I hope Mexico qualifies. It would suck for OJ region if they did not.

        I say if they see qualification as an issue then you fire Chepo now to at least get that “new coach” smell to get you the slight bump you need to push through.

  16. KNPonder says:

    This was the worst Mexican team that I have seen in my 10 years of watching soccer. I watched a good bit of the tournament and I was not impressed. They definitely were not one of the top two teams in this tournament and did not deserve a spot in the finals. While I @ssume that some of these players were part of the winning youth teams in previous years, it was very hard to see that in this tournament. When your best player in the tournament was probably your LB (Aldrete), you have problems. The GK did well in the first part of the tourney and Fabian played well at times (without him, I don’t know where the goals would have come from). Other than that, the remaining players were pretty much invisible. To make matters worse, the style and tactics of the team were horrid. Most of the time they could not string together meaningful p@sses. They were mostly selfish on the ball (#8 would look to shoot every time near the box and would only pass if surrounded by multiple defenders). Last night against Panama, they continually played long balls only to see the taller, stronger Panamanian defenders easily clear. About the only thing they were good at was fouling. They had the most fouls in the tournament last night and they did a good job of adding to that tally.

    Usually the Mexican Federation has a quick trigger along with over zealous goals. Given what we have seen in the past year, there is no reason to continue with de la Torre. The Mexican sides are getting worse and worse under him. There is no evidence that they will magically get better with him as manager.

  17. DC Josh says:

    Oh Mexico, how the tides have turned…

  18. Gnarls says:

    Mexico was anemic against Panama. I predict 3-1 USA.

  19. Falsify says:

    People complaining about mexico losing is hilarious. Who cares if the final wont have tons of Mexican fans. Mexico has been playing terrible at all levels the past year and panama deserved this victory. I could care less about the lack of Mexican atmosphere. I look forward to seeing the final!

  20. KNPonder says:

    This was the worst Mexican team that I have seen in my 10 years of watching soccer. I watched a good bit of the tournament and I was not impressed. They definitely were not one of the top two teams in this tournament and did not deserve a spot in the finals. While I @ssume that some of these players were part of the winning youth teams in previous years, it was very hard to see that in this tournament. When your best player in the tournament was probably your LB (Aldrete), you have problems. The GK did well in the first part of the tourney and Fabian played well at times (without him, I don’t know where the goals would have come from). Other than that, the remaining players were pretty much invisible. To make matters worse, the style and tactics of the team were horrid. Most of the time they could not string together meaningful p@sses. They were mostly selfish on the ball (#8 would look to shoot every time near the box and would only p@ss if surrounded by multiple defenders). Last night against Panama, they continually played long balls only to see the taller, stronger Panamanian defenders easily clear. About the only thing they were good at was fouling. They had the most fouls in the tournament last night and they did a good job of adding to that tally.

    Usually the Mexican Federation has a quick trigger along with over zealous goals. Given what we have seen in the past year, there is no reason to continue with de la Torre. The Mexican sides are getting worse and worse under him. There is no evidence that they will magically get better with him as manager.

    (Reposted this due to moderation)

  21. TGA says:

    it couldnt happen to a nicer bunch of guys..Mexico that is…

  22. Vinz Clortho says:

    Cue Van Halen…..

  23. Michael says:

    Many Mexican supports try and align their loss with players not being able to successfully carry out the game plan of the coach. I don’t think that is true.

    I think many Mexican fans love seeing the dominance Mexico has always inflicted upon small and weak Central and North American soccer teams. Forgive me if I come across as ignorant, but Mexico fans, AND players have to understand that teams like El Salvador, Panama, and even ISLANDS such as Trinidad are extremely hungry and passionate, and are putting their heart and soul into the game when they step out on the field.

    I love seeing underdogs rise from the ground to give their country pride and honor, and Panama didn’t have a lucky start this match, or the one before it. They exemplified professional, and exceptional effort that was admirable and earned them the right to say they conquered the Mexican soccer team TWICE this GC. I firmly believe that even with Hernandez, Dos’ Santos, and other Mexican reinforcements Panama would STILL have put up an amazing fight.

    Although I’m American and want to see the USA win this Sunday, I have a profound respect for Panama and truly believe that other teams should aspire to have the same, and unmatched charisma that Panama, El Salvador, and other small teams have brought to the table.

    I also think on another note that USA has been expanding their skills and preparing to challenge those European, and South American teams that cause damage.

    Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Holland, and Spain…. Look out, the US of A and Klinsmann is coming.