ST. PAUL, Minnesota -- After a tame first half that saw both sides stay compact and organized, Panama took the game to opponents Trinidad and Tobago in the second half, ultimately winning the opening match in Group D by a score of 2-0 at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
The breakthrough for Panama came in the 53rd minute. Panama had possession in the final third where Gabriel Torres sent a delicate pass through to Armando Cooper. The veteran attacking MF calmly cut by onrushing Trinidad and Tobago GK Marvin Phillip, before slotting home to put his side ahead.
Fifteen minutes later, after a phenomenal double-save from Phillip, a third Panama chance fell to Edgar Barcenas. Phillip managed to get a hand to the close-range effort, but could not prevent Panama from doubling their tally.
Phillip did everything he could to keep his team in the game. The Trinidad and Tobago netminder ended up with six saves on the night, all of them top quality.
Trinidad and Tobago almost got a goal back late on, a scramble inside eight yards ending up with a fine save from Panama’s Luis Mejia.
Panama’s next match will be versus Guyana in Cleveland on Saturday night. Trinidad and Tobago will take on the United States.