Blas Perez will not play for Panama against the United States

USA TODAY Sports

The USMNT got a massive boost on Saturday with the news that Panama will be without their best striker, Blas Perez, for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier.

Were you worried about Panama? You can probably start breathing a little easier. They'll be without FC Dallas striker and generally terrifying figure Blas Perez when they face the United States in Seattle on Tuesday. He has gastroenteritis and did not travel with the team, according to the Panamanian FA.

Panama have a very strong starting XI and another good striker in Luis Tejada, but the loss of Perez will be massive and seriously diminishes their chances of pulling off an upset. Perez was brilliant in Panama's upset of the U.S. in the 2011 Gold Cup and his physical style of play pays off extra in World Cup qualifying, where CONCACAF officials are generally extremely lenient.

Time will tell whether Panama plans on going to one of their less accomplished strikers or if they feel like changing formation. Tejada's work rate is solid and Panama has depth in midfield, so it wouldn't be shocking to see them decide to park the bus in Perez's absence.

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