CARSON, Calif. – As soon as the final whistle sounded on Saturday’s 3-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo was already thinking about meeting up with Panama ahead of their vital World Cup qualifier with Jamaica.
Los Canaleros are currently in fifth in the Hexagonal just a point behind Honduras for a spot in a playoff against Oceania champions New Zealand and two points behind Mexico for CONCACAF’s final automatic qualifying berth. It is very possible that Panama’s next to matches may decide their fate as they host Jamaica on Sept. 6 in Panama City before traveling to Tegucigalpa to take on Honduras five days later.
“First off, we can’t give away points at home. We have to continue to get points at home,” said Penedo of the game against Jamaica. “That’s a big game for us because it’s the dream of our nation [to qualify for the World Cup].”
Although the challenge is a tough one, Penedo is confident that Los Canaleros can get the results needed to put them in contention for the nation’s first ever World Cup berth.
"Right now, for these two games, we should try to get the full six points to put us in position to qualify,” said Penedo. “To be honest, I think that we have the group, the mentality and the confidence to accomplish that goal."