PANAMA CITY — New York City FC forward Tony Taylor was thrilled with his international debut for Panama and expects to return to Central America to represent the nation soon.
The former United States youth international's one-time switch was approved by FIFA ahead of November's qualification matches, and he made his debut in Tuesday's World Cup qualification match against Mexico. Taylor came on for the final 13 minutes in front of a sold-out crowd at Panama's Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
"It was great. It felt like a dream to me to be able to play in front of my country, my parents’ birth country. It was a dream to me and I’m very happy," Taylor told Goal USA. "I worked very hard to get here, and it was great to see all the fans come out and support us this way."
The player said he's spoken with Panama manager Hernan "Bolillo" Gomez about taking on a bigger role with the team now that his documents have come through, and he expects to be part of the coach's squad for the Copa Centroamericana which is set to take place in January with Panama hosting the regional championship.
"This is just the start for me. I’ve worked very hard to get here, and I’m going to continue working to fight for my spot," Taylor said. "I’m very happy with the group, with the coaches and the staff. I’m just very happy to be here."
The first game for Panama in that tournament is Jan. 13, with the final of the competition taking place Jan. 22, in time for Taylor to make the majority of the MLS preseason with NYCFC.