The game was important for both teams. In 2011 Mexico embarrassed the US team with a 5-1 defeat, while for Panama this is the 1st time in the finals and the last several times it has been the US team that has knocked them out of the tournament. This time Panama has already beaten Mexico once in the group stage 2-1 and then again in the semi-final 2-1. They were ready to "tangle" with the US team.
The answer why Aguilar was not picked for a semi final game...
Joel was the best candidate for the final and as a result was kept from the semi final round. I was anguished in an earlier report that Campbell was selected for a semi when he did not perform that well in the quarter finals.
The reason Aguilar is on the list for WC 2014
Aguilar has set the limits of what he was going tolerate within the first 5 minutes of the game. There were three quick fouls with the 3rd foul being a rather late tackle. Could have been a YC, but he selected to manage the players and made it clear to all that this type of tackle will not be tolerated. Joel allowed the game to flow with some excellent advantage "play on" calls, yet when needed he stopped the play to settle things down. He was always in control and everybody knew it.
The second half
Once the US team scored their style turned to being as disruptive as possible. No nasty fouls and they were not fouls that shut down a promising attack, but they made sure that Panama was not going to get organized. Aguilar stayed close t to the action but stayed out of the way of the players. He did have to put the "hammer down" during the last 5 minutes and ended up having to issue 4 YC. They were all deserved, well administered and allowed the teams to calm down. Well done.