Panama headed to the Gold Cup with one of the rising stars of CONCACAF soccer. Blas Perez
scored two spectacular goals to lead Colombian champion
Cucuta to a 3-1 win over Boca Juniors last week in the first leg of the Libertadores Cup semifinals, but he wasn't with Cucuta for the second leg Thursday night in Buenos Aires.
will play next season for Spanish club Hercules, and Jose Luis Garces
of Portuguese club Belenenses should give the Canaleros one of the most dangerous
frontlines in the tournament. Colorado Rapids forward Roberto Brown
was ruled out because of injury and replaced by former Real Salt Lake's Luis Tejada
Panama is coached by Alexandre Guimaraes
, who led Costa Rica to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. The
pressure will be on the Brazilian-born Guimaraes. The bar was raised significantly when Panama reached the final of the 2005 Gold Cup, where it fell to the USA on penalty kicks. GOLD CUP RECORD:
2 wins, 3 losses, 4 ties.
PANAMA ROSTER: Goalkeepers:
Jose Calderon (Chepo), Oscar McFarlane (Tauro), Jaime Penedo
Reinaldo Anderson (Arabe Unido), Felipe Baloy (Monterrey/MEX), Amilcar Henriquez (Arabe Unido), Luis Henriquez (Tauro), Luis
Moreno (Inde. Santa Fe/COL), Carlos Rivera (Tauro); Midfielders:
Alberto Blanco (Plaza Amador), Rolando Escobar (Tauro), Gabriel Gomez (Inde. Santa
Fe/COL), Victor Herrera (Puerto Rico Islanders/PUR), Engin Mitre (Plaza Amador), Juan Perez (Tauro), Ricardo Phillips (San Francisco), Juan Ramon Solis (Aguila/SLV); Forwards:
Edwin Aguilar (Tauro), Jose Luis Garces (Belenenses/POR), Nicolas Munoz (Aguila/SLV), Blas Perez (Cucuta/COL), Luis Tejada (no club), Roman Torres (La Equidad/COL).
Alexandre GUIMARAES (Costa Rica).