Panama pulls Concacaf women's shocker: 'Mucho con poco,' indeed

If she didn't know anything about the U.S. college process before now, Panama's 17-year-old goalkeeper, Yenith Bailey, will quickly learn.

She should have U.S. programs lining up to talk with her after leading Panama into the semifinals of the Concacaf Women's Championship.

Bailey, who recorded a 3-0 shutout over Trinidad & Tobago in her international debut and made 12 saves, several of them spectacular, to keep the score respectable in the 5-0 defeat to the USA, was instrumental in Panama beating Mexico, 2-0, on Wednesday.

Entering the final day of group play with a superior goal difference -- -2 vs. -3 -- Panama only needed to tie Mexico to reach the semifinals.

Bailey made the game's critical play, stopping Charlyn Corral's penalty kick in first-half stoppage time after defender Aldrith Quintero was called for a handball in the box to keep the score 0-0 at the half. Two minutes after the break, Karla Riley put Panama ahead, and later Lileth Cedeno added to its lead.

The victory doubled Panama's previous total in the Concacaf Women's Championship before this year. It has not qualified for the regional tournament since 2006 and won its only game in 2002.

Panama's qualification came despite little help for women's soccer from the Panamanian federation. "Mucho con poco" (A lot with little) was the headline in Panamanian daily El Siglo. Panama's only event between World Cup qualifying cycles was a trip to Costa Rica last year for the Central American Games.

On the other hand, the loss was a huge setback for El Tri Femenil, which qualified for the last two World Cups and had played 13 games this year in preparation for qualifying.

While it did not yet have a big impact on the national program, Liga MX last year launched a women's league. And Mexico's youth teams have been making progress in recent years. The U-20 women won the 2018 Concacaf championship over the USA while the U-17s have qualified for the quarterfinals at the last world championships -- something the USA did not achieve either time.

1 comment about "Panama pulls Concacaf women's shocker: 'Mucho con poco,' indeed".
  1. Ric Fonseca, October 13, 2018 at 3:12 p.m.

    Hola PK:  Thanks for the article on the Panamanian GK.  However, please bear in mind the processes involved inbeing recruited at a major DI University program, and the hurdles that Yenith Baliey needs to surpass - other than just being a top notch soccer player - femal or male - needs to defeat, e.g. grade point average, SAT/ACT scores, major field of study, finances, etc. etc.  I am pointing this out simply and because it - with all due respect -your article as it reads gives a very false impressionfor potential student athletes.  I know you know what it takes and is required of a college/university aspirant and it would behoove you and SA to describe what the requisites are for a young woman/man to apply for admission to a major (or minor) intercollegiate athletic program that is much more than just being an excellent athlete in whatever sport.  Thanks for allowing this comment, still, FELICIDADES to Senorita Bailey and the rest of the Canaleros Women's Team!!!  

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