Blas Perez ready to face Mexico in front of his club's hometown crowd
DALLAS - No matter where the game is played, Wednesday's CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal will be one of the biggest games of the year for FC Dallas forward Blas Perez as his Panama squad faces off against Mexico looking to beat them for a second time in three weeks and advance to a second-ever Gold Cup final.
Add in the fact that Perez will be leading the Panama attack in front of his club's hometown crowd, and you have one of the most intriguing storylines of what is sure to be a can't-miss doubleheader on Wednesday night at Cowboys Stadium.
After Panama's practice at the Cotton Bowl on Monday, Perez spoke to reporters about playing Wednesday's crucial game in the metroplex where he plays his club soccer.
PEREZ SCORES TWICE FOR PANAMA
"My teammates will be at the stadium supporting me, and I'm very happy to to be able to play with my national team in the city where I play for my club," Perez told reporters. "I hope that those who cheer for FC Dallas that live here are also able to make it to the game."
Perez has been in fine form for his country during the tournament, notching two goals and an assist in Saturday's 6-1 quarterfinal win over Cuba. He'll need to replicate that form again for Panama to find success against a struggling Mexican side.
"No mistakes, we can't afford to make any mistakes on the field," said Perez. "We have to take advantage of any mistake they make and the open spaces they leave on the field."
Perez missed Panama's 2-1 Gold Cup opening win over Mexico as he was playing with FC Dallas, and there could certainly be nothing more special for the FCD forward than to lead his country to their first Gold Cup Final since 2005 in front of his hometown fans.
"I'm very happy to be here, to be able to play in the city where my club is," said Perez. "I really hope we do well and that we are able to beat Mexico, even when we know that it won't be easy"