Michael Amir Murillo has been a regular on the New York Red Bulls bench since he joined the club on loan in mid-February. He has yet to play a competitive minute for the team, but it is rare for new signing to step straight into the starting line-up under head coach Jesse Marsch.
Despite a relative lack of visibility, however, Murillo has retained his national team's confidence. Panama head coach Hernan Dario Gomez has named the 21-year-old to his 24-man squad for the March round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.
Panama is currently third in the six-team final round of regional qualifying for Russia 2018. Los Canaleros picked up three points in Honduras - no mean feat - and played out a 0-0 home draw with Mexico in their opening games of the Hexagonal. Similar results in March will see them among the favorites to represent CONCACAF at the next World Cup.
Easier said than done, of course. On March 24, Los Canaleros Trinidad and Tobago in Trinidad, followed by the USA in Panama on March 28. Both T&T and the USMNT suffered disappointing starts to the Hex, but both will hope to find better results in the next round of matches. Murillo and Panama can expect to face highly-motivated opponents later this month.
International duty will mean Murillo is unavailable for RBNY's MLS regular season match against Real Sat Lake on March 25.