TAMPA, Florida – Panama is winless in its last eight Gold Cup games and Nicaragua has never won one, so you would think that something has to give when they meet in the competition on Tuesday night at Raymond James Stadium.
However, the Panamanians have played to six draws over that stretch, scoring one goal or fewer in each of those outings.
Nicaragua, on the other hand, is 0W-0D-4L all-time in the Gold Cup and has yet to find the back of the net,
The sides met January in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana, with Panama holding on for a 2-1 win on the strength of early goals by Roderick Miller (8’) and Josiel Nuñez (12’). Bryan Garcia (30’) got on the scoresheet for the Pinoleros.
Judging by past results, expect a low-scoring game. That being said, in football, what actually happens on the field is not necessarily what was predicted beforehand.
Here are some storylines to watch:
- Panama’s eight-game winless streak is its longest in Gold Cup history. What makes that statistic more unusual is that the Canaleros have not scored more than one goal in any of those matches. In order to avoid a similar fate, who will step up against Nicaragua?
- Forward Ismael Diaz, 20, is a rising star in the Porto system. We’ve already seen a 16-year-old, Canada’s Alphonso Davies (three goals in two games), burst onto the international stage. Is Diaz next in line?
- Juan Barrera, the star of Nicaragua’s Gold Cup qualifying campaign, is back from suspension. Will his presence inspire the Pinoleros?
- Against a regional rival, can Nicaragua earn its first-ever Gold Cup win?