Panama striker Blas Perez has been ruled out of Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier against the United States due to a case of gastroenteritis.
The Panamanian soccer federation made the announcement Saturday night via Twitter: “El delantero Blas Pérez no viajará a Seattle (USA) con la selección nacional debido a una gastroenteritis.” And while it’s unclear how dire the situation is for Perez, the federation further noted that the striker would remain under medical observation in Panama.
Reports out of Panama say that Perez first began feeling complications from the illness during his country’s 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw with Mexico on Friday at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. The conditions grew worse after the match, resulting in the federation’s decision to hold Perez out of Tuesday’s qualifier.
Gastroenteritis is basically a fancy medical word for an inflamed gastrointestinal tract that leads to diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramping. Recovery typically takes 1-2 weeks and dehydration can be lingering issue.
It goes without saying that losing Perez is a crushing blow to Panama ahead of Tuesday’s match. His absence means Los Canaleros will take 27 players to Seattle, where they’ll arrive on Sunday.
With Perez out, expect 23 year old striker Rolando Blackman to step into the fold for Julio Dely Valdes’ side. Blackman joined Slovak club FK Senica from Chorrillo F.C. in January 2012 and has made 41 appearances for the Slovak side, notching 15 goals.
For the U.S., while not having to deal with Perez will be a huge relief, the Yanks have staffing issues of their own as Graham Zusi (card accumulation) is suspended and Jermaine Jones (head injury) is unlikely to feature.