Panama’s Gomez happy to give youth experience

Hernan Dario Gomez (pictured) gave his rising stars significant playing time during at February 8, 2015, friendly against the USA. (Photo: Mexsport)

CARSON, California – Despite a 2-0 loss at the United States on Sunday, Panama head coach Hernan Darío Gomez felt that the international friendly was a constructive exercise.

One of the positives he took away was the experience gained by four players from the side that finished as runner-up to Mexico in last month’s CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.

"There was a setback, but we won something in that we gave opportunities to young players," Gomez said in his press conference after the game. "Today, there were very good young players in the selection, but everyone knows that playing in the national team is different.”

Of the six under-20 players on Gómez’s roster, four got on the field against the Americans at the StubHub Center.  Defender Fidel Escobar started and played the entire first half, while 17-year-old Ismael Diaz, Chin Hormechea and Luis Pereira – the Golden Ball winner at the CONCACAF tournament – were introduced after the break.  Both of the U.S. goals were scored within the opening 37 minutes.

Gomez explained that the influx of youngsters will deepen the national team’s pool of players and create more competition for places in the squad.

“I am not worried,” he concluded, “I already have a base, but I am looking for competition to that base.”

Panama will get a chance to test its future even further, when it next takes the field on March 31 against visiting Costa Rica.