Columbus Crew SC today announced that midfielder Cristian Martinez has earned an international call-up from the Panama Under-20 National Team. Martinez joins Panama's U-20s ahead of the UNCAF (Central American Football Union) U-20 Qualifying Tournament.
Martinez and the Panama U-20s are set to participate in the tournament, which takes place in Panama and determines berths from the UNCAF region for the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The tournament is a single round robin among five teams, with the top three advancing. Panama plays Nicaragua (July 8), Guatemala (July 10), Honduras (July 14) and El Salvador (July 16) over the duration of the qualification tournament.
Martinez was previously called-in for two friendlies with the Panama U-20s earlier this summer against Peru. He started and wore the captain's armband in each, scoring a goal in the first match as part of a 4-1 win (June 7). The midfielder has earned two senior caps for Panama all-time, both also earlier this year in friendlies against El Salvador (February 18) and Nicaragua (March 16).
The Black & Gold midfielder has made two League appearances in his first season in Columbus. On June 1 at Philadelphia, he became the youngest player to ever score for Crew SC by tallying in second-half stoppage time. Martinez was 19 years, 116 days old when he registered that goal.
Of the 26 players currently on the Black & Gold active roster, 14 have received a senior National Team call-up throughout their careers (Harrison Afful, Corey Ashe, Conor Casey, Ethan Finlay, Waylon Francis, Ola Kamara, Emil Larsen, Cedrick Mabwati, Martinez, Justin Meram, Michael Parkhurst, Rodrigo Saravia, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp).
The Black & Gold return to action on Saturday, July 9 when they travel to meet the New England Revolution for the first of three 2016 regular-season meetings (7:30 p.m. ET / The CW Columbus, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream available on ColumbusCrewSC.com).