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MLSSoccer.com takes a closer look at Panama pipeline to MLS

13 February 3:07 pm

MLSSoccer.com takes a closer look at Panama pipeline to MLS

By Mark Norris

Jonah Freedman at MLSSoccer.com examined the growing number of Panamanians entering MLS. Of course, FC Dallas was prominently mentioned:

Blas Pérez and Carlos Rodríguez have joined FC Dallas, while Gabriel Gómez is with Philadelphia. All three are veterans of that Gold Cup squad, and this season will mark the most Panamanians in the league at one time in league history.

But that windfall many expected? It hasn’t happened yet. Even with the new trio, that makes the historical total to seven – which, among Central American nations, ranks Panama ahead of only Nicaragua and Belize in producing MLS players.

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FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman tells MLSsoccer.com that he has a handful of Panamanians on his Discovery List – which is how FCD landed Pérez, Rodríguez and nearly Gómez, too. He estimates more than half of MLS clubs have made Discovery claims on Canaleros, too.

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Pérez and Gómez in particular are pedigreed players – they have three and four Gold Cups, respectively, under their belts, and both have experience in European leagues and the Mexican Primera División. Rodríguez, meanwhile, is a young up-and-comer who dazzled Hyndman and his staff during CONCACAF Champions League play last year.