Ecuador spoiled Panama’s end-of-year party with a 2-1 win over Los Canaleros in Panama City on November 20.
The match might have gone differently for Panama if a solid first-half penalty appeal had not been ignored. The teams went into half-time goalless, but Ecuador’s Jhon Jairo Cifuente broke the deadlock in the 57th minute with a sensational long-range strike. Harold Cummings equalized in the 84th minute, but Los Canaleros’ comeback was upstaged by Enner Valencia, who weaved through the Panama back-line to score in the 88th minute.
New York Red Bulls’ Michael Amir Murillo and Fidel Escobar started the match and played the full 90 minutes - as they had done for Panama in the team’s preceding friendly against Honduras on November 16.
The game-time for Panama can be considered a positive for Escobar, who has struggled to get minutes for RBNY while continuing to get regular appearances for his national team. Murillo is a regular starter for the Red Bulls and can look forward to another two-games-in-five-days stretch: he will be expected to start both legs of RBNY’s 2018 MLS Eastern Conference Final against Atlanta United.