|OFFICIAL NAME||Federación Panameña de Fútbol|
|HEAD COACH||Hernan Dario Gomez (Colombia)|
|QUALIFICATION METHOD||2nd place, 2017 Copa Centroamericana|
|BEST FINISH||Runner-up (2005, 2013)|
|PREVIOUS APPEARANCES||7 (1993, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)|
A perennial contender and two-time runner-up, Panama continues the quest for a first CONCACAF Gold Cup title in its seventh straight tournament appearance.
Two years ago, the Panamanians finished in third place without winning any of their six games. They posted an overall record of 0W-5D-1L, outlasting the United States in the match for third place, 3-2 on penalty kicks, following a 1-1 draw. The Canaleros had been ousted by the Americans in the previous five Gold Cups, each time by one goal or fewer.
Panama qualified for this year’s Gold Cup by going 3-1-1 to finish second in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana, conceding one goal or fewer in each of the five games (including three shutouts). The only loss (its first in 17 Copa matches) came against eventual-champion Honduras, 1-0, on matchday three.
As younger players continue to make claims for larger roles in the team, head coach Hernan Dario Gomez has no shortage of talent at his disposal.
Midfielder Gabriel Gomez could again be a key figure. The 32-year-old has competed in six Gold Cup editions and scored the game-winning goal in a famous 2-1 victory over the U.S. in 2011. His familiarity with Armando Cooper, Alberto Quintero and Amilcar Henriquez is genuine advantage in the middle of the field for the Canaleros.
The squad also features veteran forwards Blas Perez (36-years-old; team-record 11 career Gold Cup goals) and Luis Tejada (35-years-old; 10 career Gold Cup goals and 2005 MVP).
If Gomez decides that an injection of youth is required up front, Abdiel Arroyo, 22, appears in pole position for the assignment. He had a goal and an assist in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana, and has netted in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Not to be forgotten is 28-year-old Gabriel Torres, who was the joint-top scorer in the 2013 Gold Cup (five goals) and 20-year-old Ismael Diaz, a rising star with Portugal’s Porto.
Goalkeeper Jose Calderon won the Golden Glove award at the 2017 Copa Centroamericana, but long-time starter Jaime Penedo should be in line for a seventh Gold Cup. Either one will be supported by a talented defensive unit that boosts defenders Roman Torres, who has competed in six previous Gold Cups, Felipe Baloy, Harold Cummings, Adolfo Machado and Roderick Miller.
The 2017 Gold Cup may be the last time this generation will be together in a bid for CONCACAF glory. If Gomez gets the formula right, there would be no better way for this golden group to be rewarded than with lifting the trophy at Levi’s Stadium