Canada eliminated from 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup after Tuesday draw with Panama
Panama scored in the first minute of injury time to draw 1-1 with Canada on Tuesday evening, assuring themselves of the Group C title at the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup and ending the Maple Leafs' chances of reaching the quarterfinals.
Canada appeared to be headed to victory after Dwayne De Rosario converted a penalty in the 62nd minute at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. But Panama's late surge resulted in a goalmouth scramble, where Anibal Godoy put a ball into Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan's feet and second-half substitute Luis Tejada helped it across the goal line to earn the Central Americans a share of the spoils in the American Midwest.
The result sent Panama to a quarterfinal meeting against El Salvador on Sunday in Washington, D.C., while Canada were eliminated from this year's Gold Cup with that drawn result and the United States' 1-0 win over Guadeloupe in Tuesday's Group C finale in Kansas City.
Panama head coach Julio Dely Valdés fielded a lineup of mostly substitutes - only five starters were among the starting line-up that beat the Americans, and regulars Amílcar Henriquez, Nelson Barahona, and regular goalkeeper Jaime Penedo did not dress for Tuesday's match.
Canada created but could not finish some early chances, while the Panamanians appeared content to play conservatively and rely on captain Felipe Baloy and fellow center back Adolfo Machado to spoil the Canadians' efforts in the final third.
The North Americans had their first opportunity less than four minutes after the opening kickoff when Simeon Jackson - deployed as a lone forward - took a pass down the right side from Julian de Guzman and dribbled past Baloy and left fullback Luis Henríquez. However, the Norwich City FC striker shot high over Luis Mejía's goal.
Canada head coach Stephen Hart had his wingers change sides after 20 minutes, with De Rosario moving wide left in the place of Josh Simpson, who pushed wide right. But Canada still struggled to create seriously dangerous chances, despite some decent flank play.
Canada threatened in the 29th minute when de Guzman was on the end of a quick exchange of passes between Nik Ledgerwood and De Rosario, but the Toronto FC midfielder's shot was swatted away by Mejía. Four minutes later, Simpson hit De Rosario breaking in from the left, but the New York Red Bulls midfielder hit a drive into the side-netting.
The Canadians' finally scored 15 minutes into the second half when De Rosario was pushed from behind in the box by Panama midfielder Eybir Bonaga, while trying to head Will Johnson's centering cross. Match referee Walter Pérez pointed to the spot, and De Rosario converted for his second penalty in as many games.
Canada scored only two goals in the first round of the Gold Cup, both on De Rosario penalties. De Rosario's goal was the 17th of his international career and moved him past Alex Bunbury for third-most in Canadian national team history.
Canada maintained pressure in the second half and held possession, but were unable to add to their lead, despite a volley in the 77th minute. Panama nearly equalized in the 86th when Baloy's header off a corner flew just over Milan Borjan's goal, but Canada's defence held until the late tally.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Terry Dunfield played all of Tuesday's match in a holding midfield role and received a booking for a foul on Panama's Alberto Quintero in the 58th minute.