U-20 WNT Opponent: Panama (CONCACAF 2012)

The final group stage opponent for the USA’s U-20 WNT in the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship is host Panama (March 6th, 7:30pm Eastern).

The USA and Panama are in Group B with Cuba and Guatemala. The USA is a clear favorite to win its group, but the other spot is up for grabs.

Below are some general notes about Panama as well as some player notes.

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Country/Federation Profile:

  • Population: 3.5 million (median age is 27.5 years, compared to 36.9 for USA)
  • GDP per capita: $13,600 (USA’s is $48,100)
  • Federation: Federación Panameña de Fútbol (www.marearoja.com)
  • Women’s League: la Liga Femenina de Fútbol (LFF)
  • Senior WNT Ranking: 136th overall, 18th in CONCACAF

(Source for population and GDP data: CIA Factbook.)

How They Got to the Final Tournament: Panama finished at the top of their group in a three team round-robin with two other Central American teams. Panama tied El Salvador 2-2 and defeated Nicaragua 3-1. Attackers Angela Evans and Marta Cox each scored in both matches.

Performance in Past CONCACAF Women’s U-20/U-19 Championships:

  • 2010: Did not enter.
  • 2008: Did not qualify.
  • 2006: Qualified. Did not get out of the group. (Finished in last place). Matches: 10-0 loss to Mexico, 6-0 loss to Canada, 3-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago.
  • 2004: Qualified. Did not get out of the group. (Finished in 3rd place). Matches: 5-1 loss to Mexico, 7-0 loss to Canada, 2-0 win over Jamaica.
  • 2002: Qualified. Did not get out of the group. (Finished in last place). Matches: 3-3 tie with Trinidad & Tobago, 3-0 loss to Mexico, 1-1 tie with Jamaica.

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Panama’s pre-tournament roster (22 players, 2 will be cut) is available, here, at FEPAFUT’s website, and in a more compact form, below (players with asterisks are also on Panama’s U-17 squad):

  • Goalkeepers (3): Anyuri Montenegro, Nadia Ducreux, Dayton Wetherby
  • Defenders (7): Natalia Mills, Onelys Alvarado, Rebeca Espinosa, Katherine González*, Astrid Díaz*, Leyda Camacho, Yerenis De León*
  • Midfielders (8): Yessenia Zorrilla, Yaniska García, Yanis Sanjur*, Yomira Sandford, Margie Moreno, Leslie Fareaux, Mayra Jordan, Yvamara Rodríguez
  • Attackers (4): Karla Riley*, Marta Cox*, Eymi Quintero, Angela Evans

Most other 20-player rosters only include two goalkeepers, so I expect one goalkeeper and one field player (likely a midfielder) to be the two players cut.

Player to Watch: 14 year-old forward Marta Cox (b. 20-July-1997), who scored two goals in Central American qualifying (just 2 matches, a goal in each). Last December, she was selected as FEPAFUT’s “mejor jugadora femenina del 2011″ (best female player of 2011). She is also a member of Panama’s U-17 WNT, who have qualified for their respective CONCACAF final tournament. Five other U-17 players are also on the 22-player roster.

Players with Senior Caps: n/a. (Panama’s senior WNT appears to be inactive. On FIFA’s website, the last records of any senior matches are from the 2007 Pan-American Games. Panama apparently has not attempted to qualify for either the Women’s World Cup or the Olympics since 2006. The federation’s website does not even list a senior women’s team.)

2010 Tournament Veterans: n/a.

2010 U-17 Tournament Veterans: Anyuri Montenegro, Angela Evans, Natalia Mills, Onelys Alvarado, Margie Moreno, Astrid Díaz.

Player(s) with American Connections: Goalkeeper Dayton Wetherby, a high school junior, who has verbally committed to the U.S. Naval Academy (Tampa Bay Online blog post) where she will play for USWNT 91’er Carin “Crazy Legs” Jennings-Gabarra. From that blog post:

While playing for the 17-5 Bulls that were 4A-8 district semifinalists this season, Wetherby logged 1,540 in net, making 78 saves, 11 shutouts and gave up just 11 goals. In three seasons since starting as a freshman in 2009-10, Wetherby’s career stats have been impressive: just 39 goals against, 247 saves and 24 shutouts.

Wetherby is a late addition to the squad, having just joined Panama’s team this month. She did not participate in the Central American qualifiers back in August.

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