Gold Cup--2021

East Fork United

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It's never too soon to talk about the Gold Cup, right? The biennial tournament for CONCACAF bragging rights is scheduled for July 10-August 1 in the United States (the final will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada). For the first time, the tournament will feature 16 teams instead of the usual 12. Another first was that there was an actual draw to pair the teams in the group stage. The region's 'big dogs'; Mexico, United States, Costa Rica, and Honduras were placed in Pot 1, and the other teams, based on regional rankings were put in the other 3 pots. There will be one guest team in this year's tournament, as Qatar will be joining the field, which currently has 13 teams qualified. The other 3 teams, which would have been determined earlier this year, will instead be learned following a 'play-in' single elimination qualifying tournament, with all games held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida July 2-6. There are 12 countries still in contention for the final 3 slots. Here are those matchups:

Preliminary Group 7
Haiti vs. St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Bermuda vs. Barbados

Preliminary Group 8
Guatemala vs. Guyana
Guadeloupe vs. Bahamas

Preliminary Group 9
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Montserrat
Cuba vs. French Guiana

And here are the teams drawn into the various groups for this year's Gold Cup:

Group A
Mexico--El Salvador--Curacao--Group 9 winner (T & T, Montserrat, Cuba, French Guiana)

Group B
United States--Canada--Martinique--Group 7 winner (Haiti, SV & G, Bermuda, Barbados)

Group C
Costa Rica--Jamaica--Suriname--Group 8 winner (Guatemala, Guyana, Guadeloupe, Bahamas)

Group D
Honduras--Panama--Grenada--Qatar

Of the 12 CONCACAF teams already in the group stages, Suriname is the only one making its Gold Cup debut. Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, and Guatemala are the favorites to advance from the Preliminary finals. The groups look pretty interesting. Canada is up and coming. Could they challenge the United States in Group B? Martinique, also in that group, has a history of punching above its weight when it qualifies for the Gold Cup. Group C could come down to Jamaica (on the rise) and Costa Rica (falling slightly). Suriname is the mystery team here, but could get a boost from Netherlands-based players with Surinamese bloodlines, after decades of not being able to use those types of players for international competitions. Group C will be intriguing to see who will qualify for the knockout stages after Mexico. Can Curacao keep up its recent good form from 2017 and 2019? El Salvador sort of runs hot and cold, so you never know what to expect from the Cuscatalans. Qatar is building up its roster in preparation for next year's World Cup, but are they good enough to challenge the experienced sides of Panama and Honduras?
 

MattRam

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It's always surprised me that Suriname historically aren't stronger ( I posted about this several years ago, probably under old username) given the amount of quality Dutch players of that extract.
Is their seeming improvement a flash in the pan, internally driven with improved coaching, facilities etc or more players from their diaspora?
 

Hoddy1.

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*Listed in ET (local time)

Friday, July 2 - DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Prelims Round One)
16:30 (16:30) M1: Haiti vs Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
19:00 (19:00) M6: Bermuda vs Barbados
21:30 (21:30) M3: Trinidad and Tobago vs Montserrat

Saturday, July 3 - DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Prelims Round One)
16:30 (16:30) M5: Guadeloupe vs Bahamas
19:00 (19:00) M4: Cuba vs French Guiana
21:30 (21:30) M2: Guatemala vs Guyana

Tuesday, July 6 - DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Prelims Round Two)
16:30 (16:30) M9: Winner Prelims 3 vs Winner Prelims 4
19:00 (19:00) M7: Winner Prelims 1 vs Winner Prelims 6
21:30 (21:30) M8: Winner Prelims 2 vs Winner Prelims 5
All games at DRV PNK Stadium AKA Inter Miami Stadium , Lockhart Stadium when I went before a knock down / rebuild..

 

Hoddy1.

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All games at DRV PNK Stadium AKA Inter Miami Stadium , Lockhart Stadium when I went before a knock down / rebuild..
All fixtures to Final=


Full 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Schedule
*Listed in ET (local time)


Saturday, July 10 – Dallas Metropolitan Area (Group A)
17:00 (16:00) El Salvador vs Curaçao (Toyota Stadium)
22:00 (21:00) Mexico vs Winner Prelims 9 (AT&T Stadium)

Sunday, July 11 – Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS (Group B)
18:30 (17:30) Canada vs Martinique
20:30 (19:30) USA vs Winner Prelims 7

Monday, July 12 – Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL (Group C)
18:30 (18:30) Jamaica vs Suriname
21:00 (21:00) Costa Rica vs Winner Prelims 8

Tuesday, July 13 – BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX (Group D)
19:00 (18:00) Qatar vs Panama
21:00 (20:00) Honduras vs Grenada

Wednesday, July 14 – Dallas Metropolitan Area (Group A)
19:30 (18:30) Winner Prelims 9 vs El Salvador (Toyota Stadium)
21:30 (20:30) Curaçao vs Mexico (Cotton Bowl)

Thursday, July 15 – Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS (Group B)
19:30 (18:30) Winner Prelims 7 vs Canada
21:30 (20:30) Martinique vs USA

Friday, July 16 – Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL (Group C)
18:30 (18:30) Winner Prelims 8 vs Jamaica
20:30 (20:30) Suriname vs Costa Rica

Saturday, July 17 – BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX (Group D)
19:30 (18:30) Grenada vs Qatar
21:30 (20:30) Panama vs Honduras

Sunday, July 18 – Groups A and B
17:00 (16:00) Martinique vs Winner Prelims 7 (Toyota Stadium)
17:00 (16:00) USA vs Canada (Children’s Mercy Park)
22:00 (21:00) Mexico vs El Salvador (Cotton Bowl)
22:00 (21:00) Curaçao vs Winner Prelims 9 (Toyota Stadium)

Tuesday, July 20 – Groups C and D
19:00 (19:00) Costa Rica vs Jamaica (Exploria Stadium)
19:00 (18:00) Suriname vs Winner Prelims 8 (BBVA Stadium)
21:00 (21:00) Panama vs Grenada (Exploria Stadium)
21:00 (20:00) Honduras vs Qatar (BBVA Stadium)

Saturday, July 24 – State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ (Quarterfinals)
19:30 (16:30) QF1: 1D vs 2A
22:00 (19:00) QF2: 1A vs 2D

Sunday, July 25 – AT&T Stadium, Arlington TX (Quarterfinals)
19:00 (18:00) QF3: 1C vs 2B
21:30 (20:30) QF4: 1B vs 2C

Thursday, July 29 – Q2 Stadium, Austin, TX and NRG Stadium, Houston, TX (Semifinals)*
19:30 (18:30) SF1: Winner QF1 (1D or 2A) vs Winner QF4 (1B or 2C)
22:00 (21:00) SF2: Winner QF2 (1A or 2D) vs Winner QF3 (1C or 2B)

Sunday, August 1 – Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV (Final)
20:30 (17:30) Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2

*The venue for each specific semifinal matchup will be confirmed at the conclusion of the Group Stage (Q2 Stadium, Austin and NRG Stadium, Houston will each host one Semifinal).
 

MattRam

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Apparently Freesports are covering it, don't know anymore details
 

Hoddy1.

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East Fork United

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It's always surprised me that Suriname historically aren't stronger ( I posted about this several years ago, probably under old username) given the amount of quality Dutch players of that extract.
Is their seeming improvement a flash in the pan, internally driven with improved coaching, facilities etc or more players from their diaspora?
From what I understand, for decades since its independence (in 1975), Suriname soccer would not allow players on its national team if they grew up or were based in the Netherlands for many, many years, even if they had ties to the new nation through their own birth or their parents or grandparents. This was not so with the Netherlands, who would take Surinamese players, if they were good enough, and put them on the Oranje national team roster. The one player I recall who was like this was Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who was born in Suriname, but opted to play for the Netherlands, because his birth country would not allow him on their national team (although I don't know how seriously Suriname soccer pursued the issue or if he were even interested in challenging the rule that would not let him play for the country of his native birth). Over the years, from what I've understood, there were several players who could have opted to play for Suriname if it were allowed. The old restrictions have recently been rescinded by Suriname, so it will be interesting to see if the country can come close to challenging for Caribbean supremacy on a consistent basis as Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago have, and to a bit lesser extent, Haiti and Cuba. Along the same lines, it will be interesting to see if Curacao can sustain its recent new-found success at soccer. For that island nation, what it's going through could be a 'once in a generation' phenomenon for them.
 

East Fork United

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The Gold Cup qualifying tournament for the last 3 participants in this year's competition got underway Friday, and none of the games were close! Haiti drilled St. Vincent & the Grenadines, 6-1. Bermuda scored in the first 16 seconds of play and went on to rock Barbados' world, 8-1. In the nightcap, Trinidad & Tobago doused Montserrat, 6-1. These games were part of Preliminary Group 7 (first 2 games) and Group 9.

Today, Group 9 rounds out with Cuba facing French Guiana in the first game, followed by Preliminary Group 8, which I call "The Bee-Gees" (Guatemala vs. Guyana; Guadeloupe vs. Bahamas). The tournament concludes Tuesday.
 

East Fork United

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The second day of the preliminary Gold Cup playoffs saw only 2 of the 3 games take place. Cuba's game with French Guiana was scrapped after the Cuban team could not meet CONCACAF's COVID19 protocols and was unable to travel to Florida. It may have been for the best, in retrospect. Cuba usually has at least one or two players defect when it plays games in the United States. From that standpoint, the Cuban federation might feel relieved. French Guiana gets a walkover win.

The other two contests were played, as Guadeloupe scored its goals in the second half to eliminate Bahamas, 2-0. Guatemala scored on a deflected shot to begin against Guyana, and really took charge after the Golden Jaguars were reduced to 10 men late in the first half. Guatemala advance, 4-0.

The tournament concludes Tuesday with a scheduled triple-header in Ft. Lauderdale. Haiti meets Bermuda. Trinidad & Tobago face French Guiana, and Guatemala play Guadeloupe, with the winners advancing to round out this year's 16-team Gold Cup field.
 

East Fork United

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The final 3 Gold Cup participants were sorted out Tuesday night. Gaining entry to Group A were Trinidad & Tobago, who finished in a 1-1 draw with French Guiana. There is no extra time in Gold Cup elimination games (just the championship match, if necessary), so this one went to penalties, where T & T prevailed, 8-7.

Heading into Group B will be Haiti, who got a first half hat trick from Frantzdy Pierrot, and went on to stop Bermuda, 4-1.

The final match of the night went to penalties as well, after Guatemala and Guadeloupe ended in a 1-1 draw. When the dust settled, Guadeloupe advanced to Group C with a wild 10-9 shootout.

I wasn't able to watch the first match, but the last two were pretty decent quality. Bermuda certainly didn't look out of its depth against Haiti, but Pierrot's heroics over a 12-minute stretch sealed this one before halftime. The final match had both Guadeloupe and Guatemala playing at break-neck speed from end to end. It was a tremendous effort by both sides, and it left one wondering who was going to run out of gas first. As it turned out, neither team did.

Gold Cup action begins with Group A on Saturday. Hope the games were as entertaining as the preliminary finals were Tuesday!
 

East Fork United

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In a stunning turn of events, the Gold Cup has already seen one team eliminated before the competition even begins! Curacao apparently had too many positive coronavirus tests among its players and staff members to ensure safety in its ranks or to those of their expected opponents. Therefore, CONCACAF bounced out the Caribbean side, which was given a fair chance to advance out of the Group Stages this year. Here's the article from the CONCACAF website:


So, a break for Guatemala and heartbreak for Curacao, who barely lost out to El Salvador in its recent World Cup Qualification tie.
 

East Fork United

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The 2021 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup kicked off in Arlington, Texas last night in stunning fashion. Tournament favorites, Mexico, were held to a 0-0 draw by upstarts, Trinidad & Tobago! On the night, Mexico outshot T & T, 30-4 and had a lopsided possession advantage of 82-18% 😲! Corner kicks were 15-1 in favor of Mexico too, but keeper Marvin Phillip made 7 saves on the night to keep the Caribbean side in contention. The contest was only 10 minutes old when the crowd was silenced as Mexico starter Hirving 'Chucky' Lozano was stretchered off the field with a head injury. Lozano, who plays professionally for Napoli, split 2 Trinidadian defenders while dribbling the ball in the 18 yard box and went down to the turf. The same time he was falling, Phillip had charged out of his goal to make a sliding save on the expected incoming shot, and his knee connected with Lozano's head as Chucky was falling. It was a scary scene, and Lozano was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment. After the game resumed, Mexico continued to mount pressure on the T & T defense, but got nothing out of their forays. And to think, Trinidad & Tobago only got here by ousting French Guiana 5 days ago in the preliminary qualifying tournament, on an 8-7 penalty kick shootout! Talk about taking full advantage of an opportunity...

3 Gold Cup games continue today. Group B games see Canada battle Martinique, while USA and Haiti swing into action in Kansas City, Kansas. Group A concludes its first matchday as El Salvador and Guatemala tangle in Frisco, Texas.
 

East Fork United

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The first game of Sunday's triple-header of Gold Cup action began with a stunning start by Martinique, who took a 1-0 lead on heavily favored Canada in the 10th minute of play. Emanuel Riviere took advantage of a sloppy back pass from one of the Canadian players and sent a slow-rolling shot toward the goal from 10 yards out. Keeper Maxime Crepeau came off his line for the challenge, but the ball went under his outstretched arm and barely got over the line before a Canadian defender could clear it. After that though, it was pretty much all Canada, who responded in lightning-quick fashion with goals from Cyle Larin (16th minute), Jonathan Osorio (20th), and Stephen Eustaquio (26th). After that, every challenge Martinique offered was turned away, and Theo Corbeanu's 89th minute goal closed out Canada's 4-1 win.

The second Group B game saw the United States score a 1-0 win over Haiti. The only goal of the night came off the head of Sam Vines in the 8th minute. The U.S. put some good pressure on the Haitian back line at times throughout the contest, but keeper Brian Sylvestre came up with some nice saves to keep Haiti in the match all night long. On the other end of the field, Matt Turner was able to come up with a couple of stops that thwarted any promising charges made by Haiti's offense. Overall, it was a fairly drab contest, where both sides were left unsatisfied with the end result.

The final game of the night occurred in Group A between El Salvador and Guatemala. It would have been played Saturday night to help kick off the tournament, but it was pushed back a day due to Curacao's late COVID disqualification and Guatemala's late addition to the Gold Cup. El Salvador dominated just about every offensive statistical category, but had little to show for its effort...until the 81st minute. Alex Roldan scored from about 20 yards out near the top of the box to break the stalemate, and Joaquin Rivas tallied the insurance goal in the final minute of second half stoppage time, to give the Sallies a 2-0 win. After 1 match day in this group, El Salvador are your surprise leaders with 3 points; Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago each have 1.

Group C play begins in the CONCACAF Gold Cup tonight in Orlando, Florida, as Jamaica and Suriname meet in the first game, followed by Costa Rica against Guadeloupe.
 

East Fork United

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The Group C favorites prevailed in their first Gold Cup matches. Jamaica topped Suriname, 2-0 with goals from Shamar Nicholson in the 6th minute, and a 26th minute beauty from Bobby Reid, who connected on a volley from 20 yards out.

Costa Rica scored a couple of early goals as well (Joel Campbell in the 6th, Ariel Lassiter in the 21st) and went on to defeat Guadeloupe, 3-1. The Gwada Boys pulled back a goal in first half stoppage time from Raphael Mirval, but things got considerably tougher for them in the second half, when the team was reduced to 10 men in the 54th minute. The Ticos took advantage of the situation, and scored in the 70th minute from Celso Borges.

Group D will complete the first round of action Tuesday night, as Panama takes on Gold Cup invitee, Qatar, and Honduras meets Grenada. Both games will take place in Houston, Texas.
 

East Fork United

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Group D closed out the first round of matches Tuesday night, which began with a two-hour weather delay for the opening game. The first half of Qatar vs. Panama was a rather bland, 0-0 affair, but in a complete reversal, the second half brought fans to their feet...and frequently! When all was said and done, the teams grappled to a 3-3 draw, as Panama found itself trailing on 3 separate occasions, only to rally each time. Akram Afif got Qatar on the board first in the 48th minute. Rolando Blackburn answered for Panama in the 51st. Almoez Ali came right back with another goal for Qatar in the 53rd minute, and Blackburn tallied his brace in the 58th. Just 5 minutes later, Qatar took its third lead of the night on a PK by Hassan Al Haydos. Panama tied the contest yet again, with a PK of its own by Eric Davis in the 79th minute.

The second contest of the night, which started around 10:15 local time, saw Honduras wipe out Grenada (again), 4-0. Grenada were making its third Gold Cup appearance, and all 3 times they have had to play Honduras. All 3 times the Catrachos have won (by a combined 15-1 score). There was good back-and-forth play from both sides for most of the first half, but Honduras finally broke the ice in the 28th minute with a goal from Jerry Bengston. Edwin Solano scored in the 52nd minute, and the score stayed that way for more than a half hour. Johnny Leveron added to Grenada's woes in the 85th minute, and Romell Quioto closed out the scoring for Honduras in the 88th.

Matchday 2 in Group A tonight will see group leaders El Salvador take on Trinidad & Tobago in Frisco, Texas. Mexico and Guatemala hook up just south of there in Dallas, at the historic Cotton Bowl stadium in the nightcap.
 

East Fork United

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The second round of Group A concluded Wednesday. First game saw El Salvador turn back Trinidad & Tobago, 2-0, thanks to goals from Jairo Henriquez (30th minute) and Walter Martinez (90 + 1 minute). It was the first win for the Cuscatlans over the Socca Warriors in their last 6 meetings. Trinidad had won 3 and drawn 3 against the Central Americans previously. The second game saw Gold Cup favorites, Mexico get back on track with a 3-0 win over Guatemala. Rogelio Funes Mori scored a brace for El Tri in the 29th and 55th minutes. Orbelin Pineda closed out the scoring with header in the 79th minute.

What the results mean here is that El Salvador have guaranteed qualification into the quarterfinal round. Guatemala have been eliminated. Mexico will advance with a win or draw against El Salvador when they meet on Sunday. T & T's chances to advance are slim. They must beat Guatemala by two goals or more and hope Mexico lose by more than 2 goals to El Salvador.

Group B play continues in Kansas City, Kansas tonight as Haiti and Canada play the first game, followed by Martinique vs. United States. Wins by both Canada and USA will guarantee passage to the quarterfinal round.
 

East Fork United

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Not a lot of drama in the Group B second round of matches Thursday. Canada and the United States won their games handily to set up Sunday's showdown for group stage supremacy.

Canada got on the board quickly against Haiti, with a 5th minute goal from Stephen Eustaquio, but that was the only goal of the half. Cyle Larin extended Canada's lead in the 51st minute, and the Maple Leafs were made to sweat for a bit, as Stephane Lambese scored Haiti's first goal of the tournament in the 56th. The Caribbean side tried to maintain its pressure in its quest for an equalizing goal, but they got a bit reckless in their play and had a player sent off with a straight red card on a foul in the box. Larin got his second goal of the day on the resulting penalty kick in the 74th minute. Then, in the 79th minute, Junior Hoilett closed out Canada's 4-1 win with a goal of his own, also from the spot. Haiti's roster was depleted for this match, as only 3 substitutes were available after several members were placed in quarantine for COVID 19 protocols.

Taking advantage of a deep talent pool, the United States had 7 new starters in its lineup against Martinique compared to the ones who kicked off 4 days earlier against Haiti. The decision bore fruit quickly, as Daryl Dike got the USA on the board in the 14th minute. Dike was also in the mix for USA's second goal in the 23rd minute, but instead, it was officially logged as an own goal after his header attempt deflected off the legs of a Martinique player. Miles Robinson added to USA's lead in the 50th minute, and Dike got his brace in the 59th. Emanuel Riviere scored from the penalty spot for Martinique to avoid a shut-out in the 64th minute after the U.S. committed a foul in the box. Gyasi Zardes added a goal in the 70th minute for the Stars and Stripes, and Nicholas Gioacchini put a stamp on the 6-1 USA win with his tally in the 90th minute. The match, as bad as it was for Martinique, could have been worse. Gilles Meslien, the keeper for MTQ, made 7 saves on the night, and 3 or 4 of them were high quality, reactionary ones.

So, both Canada and United States advance to the quarterfinals, while Haiti and Martinique are eliminated prior to Sunday's final matches in this group. Canada and USA are tied on points and goal difference at the moment, and if they play to a draw Sunday, the Canadians would win the group, based on goals scored (8-2 vs. 7-1 for USA). It's sort of interesting that for two neighboring countries with over 100 years of playing international soccer (Canada began in 1912, USA in 1913), they haven't played each other that often. USA leads the series, 17-10-10. USA have won 11 straight matches involving CONCACAF teams. Their last loss to one of their confederation mates came in 2019 by a 2-0 score...to Canada!
 

East Fork United

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Group C matches in Orlando Friday night saw some late heroics by the winning sides, as both contests finished with 2-1 scorelines.

In the first game, Guadeloupe stunned Jamaica with an early goal in the 4th minute. A shot by Dmitri Ramothe took a deflection off a Jamaica player and slipped past keeper Andre Blake. Just 10 minutes later though, the Reggae Boyz levelled the score with a goal from Cory Burke. The contest stayed that way until the 87th minute, when Junior Flemmings got the game-winner for Jamaica. Guadeloupe played much better in this game than it did in its opener with Costa Rica, and on occasion had the favored Jamaicans on their heels. Blake, who won the 'Golden Glove' in the 2019 Gold Cup, had to make a couple of nice saves to keep the game tied. Close, but not cigar for the Gwada Boyz, who haven't beaten Jamaica since 1989,

The second game of the evening saw Costa Rica and Suriname tied 0-0 at halftime, with the South American side actually having the better chances at goal. Persistence paid off for Suriname in the 52nd minute, as Gleofilo Vlijter scored his country's first-ever Gold Cup goal. Up to that point of the game, Costa Rica didn't have a shot on goal, but conceding to their opponents first served to fire up the Ticos. Costa Rica tied the game on a bullet header from Joel Campbell in the 58th minute, then just 1 minute later, Celso Borges slotted home the game-winner. Things got interesting in the late stages, as Costa Rica had a player dismissed on a straight red card and had to play the last 8 minutes a man down. Borges cleared an attempt on goal off the line from Ivenzo Comvalius in the 84th minute. Comvalius also fired a shot in stoppage time that hit the left post. The victory improved Costa Rica's record against Suriname to a healthy 6-0-0.

So, these results mean that Jamaica and Costa Rica advance to the quarterfinals. It's just a matter of placement now, to see which team gets to avoid a potential quarterfinal date with USA (#1 Group B vs. #2 Group C in the bracket). Recent history shows Jamaica doing much better in the Gold Cup than Costa Rica. The Caribbean side finished second in the Gold Cup in 2015 and 2017. Costa Rica's last best showing was a 4th place finish in 2002, although the Ticos did win 3 CONCACAF Championships (a forerunner to the Gold Cup) in 1963, 1969, and 1989.

Group D wraps up its second match day tonight, with Grenada facing Qatar and Panama squaring off with Honduras. Both games will be in Houston at BBVA Stadium.
 

East Fork United

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The Group D nightcap in Houston was a wild, raucous affair, pitting two Central American rivals in Panama and Honduras. The Catrachos scored first, thanks to a 22nd minute strike by Romell Quioto, but that was cancelled out by Eric Davis' PK in the 32nd (Honduras hand ball in the box). Cesar Yanis put the Canaleros on top at halftime with his stoppage time goal. In the second half, Alexander Lopez tied the score in the 61st minute, and just 4 minutes later, Quioto scored his brace to give Honduras the lead. Panama came close in the closing 25 minutes with a couple of shots hitting the woodwork, but Honduras prevailed to notch the 3-2 win in front of a packed house (first one for the tournament). Both teams also had a goal taken off the board for offside offenses.

In the first game, Qatar steamrolled Grenada, 4-0, as the reigning AFC champions scorched the Spice Boyz for 3 first half goals (Abdelaziz Hatem 11th minute, Akram Afif 22nd, Mohammed Muntari 36th). Almoez Ali closed out the scoring with his strike in the 48th minute. This game could have been much worse than it was. Qatar missed a PK and hit the woodwork twice. Grenada keeper Jason Belfon made a whopping 17 saves to keep the game as 'respectable' as it was.

What the results from Saturday mean is that Honduras advance to the quarterfinals, and Grenada is eliminated. Qatar looks to be in great shape to advance, with 4 points and a +4 goal differential, while Panama is still alive with 1 point and a -1 goal difference. The group ends play Tuesday, with Honduras taking on Qatar, and Panama meeting Grenada.

Groups A and B end play today. First off, USA and Canada play to determine the Group B winner. The Canadians only need a draw to finish in first place. Haiti meets Martinique in the other contest. Tonight in Group A, El Salvador hooks up with Mexico. The winner takes the group, but El Salvador can claim the top spot with just a draw. Guatemala and Trinidad & Tobago meet in the other match. T & T have 1 point and could conceivably finish in 2nd place, but they would have to win and score a lot of goals while hoping to reverse their -2 GD while hoping Mexico (4 points and +3 GD) lose to El Salvador by a bunch.
 

East Fork United

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The group stage ended for 2 of the 4 Gold Cup groups Sunday. In Group A, Mexico scored the only goal in its 1-0 win over El Salvador in the 26th minute off a free kick from Luis Rodriguez. El Salvador came close on two occasions in the second half, but could not find the back of the net, and had to settle for second place in the group, finishing with 6 points. Mexico, with 7 points, topped the table, but El Tri hasn't looked all that convincing in its 3 matches so far. They await the runners-up of Group D for their quarterfinal opponent. El Salvador will play the winner of Group D. Both quarterfinal matches are slated for next Saturday.

In the 'playing for pride' game, Trinidad & Tobago and Guatemala played to a 1-1 draw. Reon Moore got the Socca Warriors off to a good start with his goal in the 12th minute, and the game stayed that way until the 77th minute, when Gerardo Gordillo's header off a corner kick found the back of the net for the tying goal. Guatemala, a late addition to the tournamnet due to COVID 19 issues with Curacao, salvaged a point from their 2021 Gold Cup experience. T & T finish with 2 points.

In Group B, the much-anticipated Canada-USA showdown began with a bang, as Shaq Moore scored for the United States, just 20 seconds into the match! After that electrifying start....Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 😲! The game finished 1-0 in favor of USA, who never had a shot on goal after Moore's effort. Canada wasn't much better, as the Maple Leafs put 3 shots on goal, but none were of the quality or ferocity to test keeper Matt Turner. Both teams lost one player each due to injuries during the frenetically-paced game, as USA take the group with 9 points, compared to Canada's 6. USA meets the Group C winner next Sunday, while Canada faces that group's runner-up, also on Sunday.

Also in Group B, Haiti earned its first points of the tournament, with a 2-1 victory against Martinique. Carnejy Antoine got Les Grenadiers off to a hot start with his 3rd minute strike, and Haiti had several good chances in the first half to extend their lead, but shots were either just off the mark, or Martinique keeper Arnaud Des Etages was there to keep his team in the match. His efforts were important, as Kevin Fortune scored the equalizer in the 53rd minute, but not long after that, disaster struck for Martinique, who had a player sent off on a hard challenge, which resulted in Haiti scoring the game-winner off the ensuing free kick from Ricardo Ade in the 59th minute. Frustration or lack of discipline continued to do Martinique in, as they were reduced to 9 men following another red card infraction in the 78th minute. Instead of adding to the misery, Haiti was content to keep possession of the ball and see the game out. Small consolation for Les Matinino, but the goal by Kevin Fortune went into the CONCACAF record books as the 1000th goal scored in Gold Cup competition, dating back to the tournament's inception in 1991.

The Gold Cup competition is off Monday, but Groups C and D will wrap up Tuesday. In Group C, Suriname plays Guadeloupe in Houston, as both teams go searching for their first points. Later, in Orlando, the group championship is on the line as Jamaica and Costa Rica hook up (both are on 6 points). If the game ends in a draw, the Ticos have the edge (5 goals scored versus 4 for Jamaica). Group D will see Panama take on Grenada in Orlando (prior to the CRC-JAM contest). Panama (with 1 point) still have a chance to qualify to the knockout rounds, but the Canaleros need to score a lot of goals and hope Honduras can best Qatar. The two group leaders meet in their last match before the quarterfinals in Houston. Honduras have 6 points and are already into the quarters. Qatar sit on 4 points with a healthy +4 goal difference (Panama have a GD of -1).
 

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