Thursday, June 07, 2007

Gold Cup Day 1 - Two games, two surprises

One day in and we already have had two wonderful matches. I thought Group A would provide some entertaining soccer and, at least so far, it has.

Canada 2-1 Costa Rica
Canada pulled off a bit of an upset as they knocked off Costa Rica 2-1 in a match where the Maple Leafs were the aggressors for most of the 90-minutes. Costa Rica came out strong, but about 15-minutes in the tide changed and the Canadians started taking control. They had numerous shots on goal, but they could not finish. The Ticos came out strong again in the second half and got the first goal of the night off a fantastically curled ball from Walter Centeno. But the lead didn't last long as Juan de Guzman found a loose ball in the box to equalize a minute later. De Guzman again made Costa Rica pay when he blasted a long range shot into the upper corner of the goal. The Ticos tried to come back and had a couple good chances late, but they could not do it.

Canada put together some excellent attacks but their defense still has some problems. They had trouble clearing balls and sticking to their man. Costa Rica was much flatter then I've seen them in a long time. Their timing was off and they were not making the most of Canada's mistakes. So is Canada now the number three team in Concacaf? Also, US Soccer must be in denial over this win as they are reporting it as a Costa Rica 2-1 victory.
Costa Rica - Walter Centeno (1) 56'
Canada - Juan de Guzman (1) 57', (2) 73'

Guadeloupe 1-1 Haiti
The other match of the night was just as much fun to watch as 'Where the hell is that' Guadeloupe tied a Haitian team that many people thought might be the surprise of the tournament. Haiti was the better team during this match, but Guadaloupe held their own. When they went down on a penalty kick caused by defender Alain Vertot fouling Alexandre Boucicaut, they did no fall apart. Instead, they slowed things down till halftime. Coming out for the second 45, they put together their best soccer of the night and equalized in the 54th. Haiti went all out for the tie in the final 20-minutes, but Guadeloupe held.

One match does not make the tournament and I have a feeling that much like Trinidad & Tobago in the World Cup, Guadeloupe will fade from here, but it is still a good showing. Haiti was surprisingly lacking in creativity as they just tried to force their way into things. Even though I think they are the third best team in this group, they are better then how they played last night.
Guadaloupe - Cedrick Fiston (1) 54'
Haiti - Mones Cherry (1) pk 36'

Group A
Guadeloupe 11001110
Costa Rica0101012-1

Group B
El Salvador00000000

Group C

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