Though Tyler Adams, Sacha Kljestan and Luis Robles won’t be heading to Russia next summer, Michael Amir Murillo and Fidel Escobar will be as they represent Panama in the nation’s first-ever World Cup appearance. The Red Bulls defender duo continued to cement their spots on the Russia roster as they both added two more caps for the team in the November international break.
Panama used Murillo and Escobar as subs in their November 9 friendly against Iran - though not before the team conceded two goals. Murillo came in at the 36th minute, while Escobar was subbed in at the start of the second half.
In the following friendly on November 14 against Wales, Murillo and Escobar were in the starting XI and played the full 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw.
The two defenders have played together off-and-on since their academy days in Panama, and both joined the Red Bulls on loan deals from the Panamanian Football League in 2017 - Murillo arriving from San Francisco F.C. in January and Escobar joining on an 18-month loan from Sporting San Miguelito in the summer transfer window.
Murillo cemented his spot in the starting lineup late in the season, finishing the year with two goals in 18 starts and over 1500 minutes played. Escobar had a somewhat harder time cracking the roster, making just 5 starts and playing under 500 minutes.