Update: Canada took care of Panama and won 1-0, taking three vital points at home.
Canada will host Group C leader Panama on Friday, September 7, 2012 at 7:45 PM EDT at BMO Field in Toronto. Canada drew its previous home game against Honduras 0-0, it cannot afford to continue dropping points at home if it wants to move on in the CONCACAF Qualifying process. Panama surprised Group C by winning its first two games, demonstrating quality soccer along the way. Can Canada defeat the Canaleros and take the three points?
Canada currently finds itself with four points after defeating Cuba in Havana, and dropping two points against Honduras in Toronto. Canada already drew their first game at home, they cannot expect to move on to the hexagonal qualifying round if they can’t beat Panama at home either. This would leave them with a huge disadvantage, and with the need to get points in very difficult away matches in Central America. This is my prediction: if Canada doesn’t defeat Panama at home, it will not move on to the next qualifying round.
Panama started off play in Group C with an excellent result, winning in Honduras, a match that was expected to be their toughest test in the group. They followed that up by defeating Cuba at home. They are now in first place with six points, and are poised to move on to the final qualifying round. The Canaleros know that a draw in Toronto and a win against Canada in Panama would virtually guarantee them a spot in the next round. I expect Panama will come to Toronto with a defensive scheme, hoping to lure the Canadians forward, and exploit the counter-attacking opportunities.
Prediction: Canada is forced to win this game, and Panama knows it. Canada will go on the attack while the Panamanians defend and wait for the counterattacking opportunities. I believe Panama will come off with a surprise win in Toronto, and virtually guarantee them the first spot in Group C. The score will be Canada 1 – Panama 2.
Television: The Canada vs Panama match will be shown on ESPN Deportes and ESPN 3 this Friday, September 7 at 7:45 PM Eastern.
1- GK- Lars Hirschfeld – NOR / Vålerenga Fotball
2- M- Nik Ledgerwood – SWE / Hammarby Fotboll
3- FB- Ante Jazić – USA / Chivas USA
4- CB- Kevin McKenna – GER / FC Köln
5- CB- André Hainault – USA / Houston Dynamo
6- M – Julian de Guzman – USA / FC Dallas
7- M – Terry Dunfield – CAN / Toronto FC
8- M- Will Johnson – USA / Real Salt Lake
9- F- Tosaint Ricketts – ROM / Politehnica Timişoara
10- F- Simeon Jackson – ENG / Norwich City FC
11- FB- Marcel de Jong – GER / FC Augsburg
12- CB- Dejan Jaković – USA / D.C. United
13- M- Atiba Hutchinson – NED / PSV Eindhoven
14- M/F- Dwayne De Rosario – USA / D.C. United
15- CB- David Edgar – ENG / Burnley FC
16- M- Pedro Pacheco – POR / CD Santa Clara
17- F- Olivier Occean – GER / Eintracht Frankfurt
18- GK- Milan Borjan – TUR / Sivasspor
19- FB- Ashtone Morgan – CAN / Toronto FC
20- M – Patrice Bernier – CAN / Impact Montréal
22- GK- Kenny Stamatopoulos – SWE / AIK Fotbol
1. Jaime Penedo – Municipal (GUA)
2. Luis Mejía – Fénix (URU)
3. Carlos Rodríguez – FC Dallas (USA)
4. Luis Henríquez – Lech Poznan (POL)
5. Felipe Baloy – Santos Laguna (MEX)
6. Román Torres – Millonarios (COL)
7. Jean Carlos Cedeño – Alianza FC (PAN)
8. Eduardo Dasent – Tauro FC (PAN)
9. Roderick Miller – San Francisco (PAN)
10. Amílcar Henríquez – Deportivo Independiente Medellín (COL)
11. Nelson Barahona – Atlético Huila (COL)
12. Armando Cooper – Godoy Cruz (ARG)
13. Gabriel Gómez – Philadelphia Union (USA)
14. Alberto Quintero – Chorrillo FC (PAN)
15. Juan de Dios Pérez – Tauro FC (PAN)
16. Marcos Sánchez – Tauro FC (PAN)
17. Aníbal Godoy – Chepo FC (PAN)
18. Blas Pérez – FC Dallas (USA)
19. Luis Tejada – Juan Aurich (PER)
20. Yairo Glaize Yau – Sydney FC (AUS)
21. Rolando Blackburn – FK Senica (SVK)
22. Edwin Aguilar – Tauro FC (PAN)