Most of us can only imagine the crushing misery and heartbreak Panamanian players felt last week as their World Cup dreams drifted off into the Central American night. Truly, it must have been wrenching.
But a couple of the Panamanians got on a plane, got past their profound disappointment and professionally went about the task of getting on with it. And their clubs were the better for it.
One was in Los Angeles, where Panamanian No. 1 Jaime Penedo made two absolutely outstanding saves (among four saves overall) to preserve a scoreless draw against San Jose and put the Galaxy into a better spot for its season finale visit to Seattle. So, well done, Panamanian sir.
Unfortunately, one of Penedo’s teammates one-upped him. That was Gabriel Torres, the young Panamanian attacker whose work for the Colorado Rapids helped get the DSG Park gang a 2013 playoff spot.
Torres’ hold-up work was great all night as the Rapids eliminated Vancouver, all but officially claiming a post-season berth. (Plus, the Rapids still have a chance to move out of the fourth- or fifth-place spot, into the far more desirable third-place position.)
The club’s first Designated Player leveled Saturday’s match with a well-taken 41st minute penalty kick after Rapids defender Drew Moor was dragged down inside the 18. But it was Torres’ brilliant 77th minute strike, yet another equalizer after the visitors had pulled ahead again, that truly had everyone around suburban Commerce buzzing.
What a strike! Both in terms of greater meaning (for the club) and it terms of individual showmanship for the 24-year-old, who joined the Rapids in August. Talk about unstoppable.
Here are the highlights from DSG Park, all the goals in the Rapids’ telling 3-2 win, including Torres’ fantastic work.