On Friday, Canada beat Panama 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Toronto, with a sly quick free kick that caught Panama off guard and allowed Dwayne De Rosario to score from right in front of goal. This win put Canada atop CONCACAF Group C with seven points and left a bitter Panama in second with six.
On Sunday, Canada traveled to Panama for their second and final meeting in this stage and the local fans greeted the team outside their hotel by using "using fireworks, drums, hoking horns and laser pointers" all night to ensure sleep would be difficult. According to Canada's Patrice Bernier, one local told him, "You in my country, this is Panama, this is third war."
Of course, this is all pretty standard fare, especially in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. But on Monday night, the eve of the match, Panama supporters took it a step further with what Canada Soccer's Twitter feed described as "shocking scenes." "Hundreds of Panamanian fans gathered outside team hotel," it said around midnight. "Noise is deafening."
There were fireworks, sirens, cars filled with speakers blaring music, live bands and a giant mob of people outside the hotel all under the watch of a laid back police force. But as raucous as the crowd was, it also seemed rather peaceful. Just having a good time that happened to disrupt Canada's pre-match rest. "Certainly no 'fair play' in sight," said the CSA, who claim the disruption was "endorsed" by the Panama football federation (FEPAFUT). Meanwhile former Canada goalkeeper and current goalkeeping coach Paul Dolan said, "I have never seen anything this loud, disruptive & orchestrated in my 28 years in CONCACAF!"
Impressive, Panama. Impressive.