Panama and Mexico's managers show mutual respect

While Panama manager Hernan Gomez doesn't share Mexico boss Juan Carlos Osorio's philosophies, he can empathize with the criticism directed at his compatriot.

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Two Colombian tacticians will do battle Tuesday when Mexico meets Panama in a friendly, and the managers have a shared respect for each other's work.

"I think Panama has a man of football with a lot of experience leading it," Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio said when told of comments Panama boss Hernan Gomez made earlier in the week praising Osorio's work. "He's participated in World Cups, he did a great job with Colombia, Ecuador, now with Panama, so Hernan's word's are very well received."

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Gomez can relate to the criticism Osorio has taken after overseeing a 7-0 loss to Chile in the Copa America Centenario, a result followed up with an uninspiring victory over El Salvador and a home draw to Honduras.

"Every national team manager is criticized, very criticized, because it’s the entire country surrounding one team," Gomez said in a news conference Monday. "Talking politically, you go to jail, talking about religion, there’s a problem, but anybody can talk about soccer with anyone and there’s no problem. 

"The Mexican national team coach has the best soccer in this region. He has very good players, full stadiums, a domestic league that’s very nice, Mexico is a grande."

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Despite empathizing with his compatriot, Gomez doesn't share Osorio's philosophy of rotating players, preferring to select an ideal XI and make as few alterations as possible.

"My team for the World Cup qualifiers is stable," he said. "I’m a manager who thinks, ‘Hopefully I don’t have to change anything,’ because I think the team is good. I don’t like to change things. I want stability. Every manager has his ideas, but my concept is to have stability."

Gomez's preferred XI isn't in Illinois for this game, with the manager saving those experienced players for the Hex, which Panama opens against Honduras and then faces Osorio's Tri in November.