Gold Cup day #2 in Carson, California offered an electrifying opener while the second clash left much to be desired.
COSTA RICA VS JAMAICA
Aside from USA and Mexico, Costa Rica are the other favorites to claim the Cup this year but unfortunately, they are without their best man on defense, the one in charge of protecting the goal, Keylor Navas. However, while everyone sees this as a huge blow for Costa Rica, 26-year-old AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado is keen on seize the opportunity of his life.
On the other side of the pitch, Jamaica, a team fresh off their participation in Copa America in Chile where they really complicated things for big teams in South America including Uruguay, the always tough Paraguay and the 2014 World Cup runners-up Argentina. “Los Ticos” were showing to be a bit more creative while Jamaica was using their strength which led to a very physical pace to proceedings.
Fast game with lots of clashes that sometimes I thought sparks would come out. The Caribbean side struck first thanks to a defensive flaw after a long throw in right in the area which was exploited by McCleary. Surprise, Surprise! Or not really, I knew that Jamaica would be a tough side to beat, they have trouble when it comes to score goals but this time out they managed to do what they could not do in the Copa America.
This of course forced Costa Rica to react and indeed they did. The Central Americans turned the tables on their opponents first by using play #543 from their book of tricks and later took the lead from a heads up play from striker David Ramirez which defender Wes Morgan was not able to save, instead ended up pushing the ball in for the score.
Second half got even better with a roaring start from Jamaica where McAnuff pulled off a sweet move to break away from the defender and put the ball in… GOLAZO! Two goals apiece for two very good teams in a game that no one deserved to lose.
EL SALVADOR VS CANADA
Not much to say from the second game between El Salvador and Canada other than a few options from the Central American side that were denied by Greece-born shot stopper Kyriakos Stamatopoulos. Well there’s one really good, incredible missed opportunity by Canadian striker Larin in the 36th minute that reminded me of the scene from Adam Sandler’s movie “Happy Gilmore”, where he just had to TAP IT IN! SEND THE BALL HOME! And my reaction was exactly the same when it did not go in…
Soldier Field in Chicago will be the stage tonight as Trinidad & Tobago faces Guatemala and later Mexico will look to cruise to a win (as expected) against Cuba.