Adolfo Machado (pictured) and Panama will take on the USA in the CONCACAF Gold Cup third place match on July 25, 2015, in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Mexsport)
ATLANTA -- A weary Blas Perez walked toward the Panama team bus at the Georgia Dome.
Even though he didn’t play, the striker still was emotionally exhausted after a 2-1 extra-time loss to Mexico in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals on Wednesday night.
"I am very sad," Perez said. "Tonight, nobody is going to sleep. We're just focusing on Saturday. We'll see what happens."
Panama will meet the United States in the third-place match at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, although the overriding objective was to play the following day in the championship game at Lincoln Financial Field.
Perez was pleased by his teammates play against the Mexicans, especially after forward Luis Tejada’s 25th minute ejection forced the 2013 runner-up to compete for the final 95 minutes a man down.
"Very well, excellent," the 34-year-old expressed, when asked to assess Panama’s performance. "Even though we played with one player less, Mexico didn't have a chance to reign over us."
Panama will face eternal Gold Cup-rival USA in the third-place match, which will be contested for the first time since 2003. The teams met in the 2005 and 2013 finals and played to a 1-1 draw in the group stage of this year's competition in Kansas City, Kansas, on July 13. Perez scored Panama’s goal in the 34th minute, before Michael Bradley equalized in the second half.
The Canaleros match up well with the Americans and they seemingly always play close contests. Perez said the U.S. doesn’t bring out the best in his team, it approaches every opponent the same determined way.
"We always try to play with every team very well," he finished. "We demonstrated tonight that we went from less to more, but, unfortunately, we didn't win a game tonight."