Camargo, Panama youth excel at Gold Cup
Panama’s Miguel Camargo (#18) has been one of the standout performers in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Photo: AFP)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Miguel Camargo had an influence that was felt throughout Panama’s bid to challenge the United States for the top spot in Group B at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Thanks in noticeable part to Camargo’s performances, the Canaleros did not lose any of their three group games, including an impressive 3-0 win over Martinique on Saturday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

But what does Panama head coach Hernan Dario Gomez think about the New York City FC midfielder?

“He can do everything,” said Gomez.  “He can play four different positions in the midfield.  He’s very tactical.  He can play without many touches.  He can break down the defense.  For us, he’s one of the most compete players in Panama.”

Camargo opened the tournament with the equalizer in a 1-1 draw against the United States on July 8.  He then assisted on Ismael Diaz’s tying goal in a 2-1 win over Nicaragua four days later.

The 24-year-old, who set up New York Red Bulls defender Michael Murillo’s opening goal one minute before halftime against Martinique, is part of an impressive Panamanian youth movement.  Gomez elected to call in Camargo (24-years-old), Diaz (20), Murillo (21) and defender Roberto Chen (23) to gain valuable experience.

They’ve more than met the challenge.

“We came to play this tournament trying to get the best results and for the young players to have this type of experience, helping to get to the same level of the senior team,” Gomez finished.  “It was very good because the players understood these games are very important and they faced it in a very mature way.  It’s very important that these young players face these tough games.”

Panama (2W-1D-0L, 7 points), which finished as runner-up to the U.S. in Group B on the most-goal scored tiebreaker, will face Central American rival Costa Rica on Thursday in Philadelphia.