KANSAS CITY.- Panama Manager Julio Dely Valdes spoke with the media during his pre-match press conference at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City on Tuesday night. The longtime Panama player turned head coach put a heavy emphasis on preparation when discussing Wednesday night’s showdown with the United States, which will decide first place in Group D.
“We have to be prepared for their strengths,” said Dely Valdes. “Offensively, they are a dangerous team. We all know what they can do.”
While the manager is certainly seeking a positive result against the U.S., he was adamant about what it means to put on the Panama shirt.
“Regardless of whether we finish first or second in the group,” Dely Valdes said, “independent of all that, we are always going to put forward a positive image of Panama.”
Dely Valdes spoke of the added motivation of playing against one of the bigger teams in the region.
“When you’re going against a strong team like the United States,” he said, “it’s an obligation for myself, our coaches, and of course our players to put our best foot forward. That’s what I am most focused on for tomorrow, how we represent Panama.”
“We could gain a lot of confidence from this game,” the coach continued. “We know that the quarterfinals will be waiting either way, and we want to go into that quarterfinal with confidence, no matter who we match-up against. A good result against the U.S. would be so good for the confidence level of this team.”
Panama and the U.S. will kick off their Group D finale in Kansas City at 9 PM ET on Wednesday, the match preceded by Guyana vs. Trinidad and Tobago.