Panama tests Guadeloupe in Group C of the 2011 Gold Cup in Detroit this evening.
Panama and Guadeloupe clash in their opening Group C duel in the CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Ford Field in Detroit tonight.
The Panamanians are hoping to duplicate their runner-up finish at the 2005 Gold Cup, losing to the United States on penalties in the final.
Veteran striker Blas Perez, Roberto Brown, and 2005 Gold Cup MVP Luis Tejada will lead La Marea Roja in this tournament. Captain Felipe Baloy will man the defense along with Adolfo Machedo, Luis Henríquez, Román Torres and goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
Panama is also out to avenge its shocking 1-2 loss to Guadeloupe in the group stage of the 2009 Gold Cup.
Guadeloupe's status is quite unique as it is a French province located in this part of the world and thus playing under the CONCACAF.
The island is classified as a French overseas territory and the Gold Cup is its only major competition as it cannot participate in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
But despite its odd background, Guadeloupe is no pushover. Les Gwada Boys reached the quarterfinals of the 2009 tournament and was a semifinalist in the 2007 tournament, posting wins over Canada and Guatemala before bowing to Mexico.
Franck Grandel is back to man the posts for Guadeloupe. The French Ligue 1 mainstay was named the Top Goalkeeper of the 2007 Gold Cup after allowing only five goals in as many matches. He gave up only one goal in their loss to Mexico in the semifinals despite being bombarded throughout the match.
Ulick Lupede, who plays in the Portuguese second division, and State de Reims mainstay Mickaël Tacalfred should also provide quality minutes.
Other players to watch for in the squad are leading scorer Ludovic Gotin, Kansas City Wizards player Stéphane Auvray and youngster Jean-Marc Hatchi, a reserve at Ligue 1 club Caen
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