Mexico vs. Panama: Offensive Stars Who Will Be Key in Gold Cup Semifinal

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 11:  Marco Fabian #10 of Mexico celebrates after scoring a goal against Canada at CenturyLink Field on July 11, 2013 in Seattle, Washington.  Mexico defeated Canada 2-0.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Although both Panama and Mexico can be inconsistent offensively, each side has quality scorers who can change matches in a hurry.

After an opening loss, Mexico has won three matches in a row and has outscored opponents 6-1.

Meanwhile, Panama showcased its offensive ability in the quarterfinal with its 6-1 win over Cuba.

These teams will now battle Wednesday to see which squad will compete in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

Panama earned a 2-1 win when these squads faced each other to start the tournament, but Mexico is the two-time defending champion and has plenty of talent on the roster. Either side can come through with a victory, although it will likely be decided by the contributions of these young players.

Gabriel Torres, Panama

Despite being only 24 years old, Gabriel Torres has proven to be the best player on Panama and one of the best in the entire tournament.

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The midfielder scored both goals in the team's opening 2-1 win over Mexico, including a penalty shot in the seventh minute. This was actually one of three successful conversions from the spot during the Gold Cup.

Of course, he can also score from the pitch. He currently is tied for the lead with Chris Wondolowski with five total goals in the tournament, and it does not seem as though he is slowing down any time soon.

Torres has been a fantastic scorer for Zamora in the top Venezuelan league, and his ability is a major reason that Panama has a chance to contend for a tournament title. 

Marco Fabian, Mexico

After Mexico struggled to score goals in World Cup qualifying, Marco Fabian has been a breath of fresh air for the national team.

The midfielder has been a consistent force for El Tri, scoring in each of the squad's three group stage matches. He is a solid finisher who knows how to take advantage of every opportunity given to him. 

He also has a powerful shot with the ability to score from long range, which forces the defense to stay on its toes throughout the match.

If he keeps producing at this rate, it would be hard to imagine Mexico trying to play more competitive games without him on the roster.

Raul Jimenez, Mexico

Although Raul Jimenez might not be the best scorer in Mexico, he certainly knows the best times to come through.

When Mexico needed a score late in the match against Trinidad and Tobago, Jimenez was the one who got the squad on the board in the 84th minute. He also scored the opening goal in a 2-0 victory over Canada.

At 22 years old, Jimenez already displays great composure with the ball and is unafraid to make a play if it is available. As he gains more confidence from his success, this will only get better.

The forward represents a bright future for the squad, and he is someone who should have a big showing in the semifinal against Panama. 

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