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Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Representing Panama at the World Cup would be a "beautiful opportunity" for Adolfo Machado

The trip is not 100% finalized, but Houston Dynamo defender Adolfo Machado took one more step towards Russia and the 2018 FIFA World Cup as he was named to Panama’s 35-man provisional roster this week.

Machado was a regular in Panama’s World Cup qualifying squads, playing in 12 matches, but he will have to wait until June 4 for the 23-man rosters to be finalized for this summer’s tournament.

“I am very thankful to God for the opportunity of being named to Panama’s provisional roster for the World Cup in Russia,” Machado told reporters after training on Tuesday. “I am waiting for the final roster to see if I can go and represent my country.”

Not only would this be the first World Cup for Machado, but it is the first World Cup for Panama as a whole. The Central American nation clinched their spot as the third-place finishers in Concacaf after a wild and controversial final night of qualifying and will now get to tangle with Belgium, England, and Tunisia in Group G.

The opportunity of being the first is exciting in its own right, but Machado also sees it as a catapult for future success on the world stage as they pass down the lessons learned both from qualifying and the tournament itself as Panama aims for repeat appearances.

“We will be able to share that with the young players that will fight for a spot for Qatar in 2022,” Machado said. “We will be able to share that experience, we will be able to talk about how we suffered, and we came out so that we could fulfill our objective.”

For now, however, the focus for Machado is still on his duties with the Dynamo so he can be at the top of his game should he get the final nod from Panama head coach Hernán Darío Gómez.

“I am excited,” he said. “This a beautiful opportunity, it is a blessing because this is every player’s dream. I have the opportunity to potentially go to a World Cup, and I will take advantage of this opportunity.”