The banner headline in Panama’s leading newspaper got the mood, if not the vocabulary, right.
Regresa el Fantasma, The Ghost Returns.
But it’s not so much a ghost that has come back to Panama in the form of the U.S. national team as it is a haunting memory that never left in the first place.
In the final game of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying four years ago, Panama was 90 seconds from a win over the U.S., one that would have sent it to a playoff with New Zealand and a chance to win the country’s first World Cup berth.
But the U.S. spoiled that by scoring twice deep in stoppage time, goals that have haunted much of Panama ever since.
“Obviously a great...