Union snags well-traveled Panamanian Garcia

[MLS TRANSACTIONS] The man whose penalty kick helped his nation score a memorable defeat of the USA last summer will play in America’s pro league next year, his fifth club in the last two years and 11th in his career.

Panamanian midfielder Gabriel “Gavilan” Gomez, 27, has signed with the Philadelphia Union after playing professionally in Colombia, Mexico, Portugal, Cyprus and his native country for nearly a decade. He comes to MLS from Indios of the Mexican second division, to which he had been loaned by Colombian club La Equidad. Terms of his acquisition and contract have not been disclosed.

A native of Panama City, Gomez represented his country at the U-20 level before moving up to the national team, for which he has played 74 times and scored eight goals. Five of his international goals came in 2011, including a penalty kick in a 2-1 defeat of the USA in Gold Cup group play. Panama eventually advanced to the semifinals, in which it lost a rematch to the USA, 1-0.

After five seasons in Colombia and Panama, Gomez in 2007 moved to Europe, where played for 71 games in three seasons for Portuguese club Belenenses. A short stint in Cyprus with Ermis Aradippou followed before he went back to Colombia.

Gomez is the second international player signed by the Union since it was eliminated by Houston in the MLS playoffs. Two weeks ago, the club announced the signing of Costa Rican attacker Josue Martinez, 21, who is expected to vie for a starting spot in the frontline.

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