The Gold Cup is moving at a frantic pace. All 16 nations competition has played at least one match. If you missed any of the action from matchday one, have no fear! We at Philly Sports Network will take you back through each game and show who is doing what. Here’s a look back on the 2021 Gold Cup: Matchday 1.
Gold Cup: Matchday 1
Matchday one was full of tough play, some surprises, and blowouts. All in all, it was a normal opening matchday of the Gold Cup. Let’s look back at each group to show how things are starting to shake out.
There was a shakeup in Group A before a ball was even kicked. Curacao was not allowed to compete because of a Covid outbreak in the team. This meant that the next best-ranked Concacaf team, Guatemala. They had just two days to come together and get ready to compete against El Salvador. Mexico is the nation to beat in this group and the overall favorite to win the competition, but they would have to go up against hungry Trinidad and Tobago who just barely qualified for this Gold Cup.
Mexico can’t beat Trinidad & Tobago, in 0-0 draw
The opening match of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup ended as a nil nil draw, but it’s one that is a bit shocking. Favorties to win the whole tournament Mexico drew a Trinidad & Tobago side that played a qualifying match for the tournament the same week as this game. The match was totally turned on it’s head when Mexico’s Chuck Lozano went off injured in the 18th minute. That blow seemed to take Mexico off their game just a bit, but not too much.
Trinidad & Tobago had one goal in this match; defend, defend, defend. They did just that. Mexico produced 30 shots, 25 of which were real chances, but only seven were actually on goal. Mexcio’s main flaw is their lack of strikers. They’ll need to figure it out in their second match against a losly put together Guatamala. T&T are now in a good spot heading into their second match vs El Salvador.
El Salvador score two on shocked Guatamala
El Salvador came into this Gold Cup looking to solidify their roster ahead of the final stage of World Cup qualifying. They got to play against a Guatalaman side who thought they were eliminated from Gold Cup qualifying, adn then were called in to play when Curaco couldn’t compete due to Covid protocols and cases in their team.
The match was dominated by El Salvador, but Guatamala was able to stay in the match for 80+ minutes. Alex Roldan scored the game winner for El Salvador in the 81st minute. They got a second goal to secure the three points in second half stoppage time. It will be real momentum for El Salvador moving forward; while Guatamala will need to come together as a group to figure out how to compete in this tournament.
In Group B, the USA had its sights on another big step for its return from failure back in 2018. A roster of mainly backup players on their overall roster got to play their first match against a Haitian side that looked to expand of their good past Gold Cup runs. Canada is moving forward up the Concacaf standings and is hoping this Gold cup can prove that they belong with the likes of Mexico, the USA, Costa Rica, and Honduras. They go to show this against Martinique in their first match; a small nation that isn’t actually a sovereign nation so this competition is like their World Cup.
Canada comeback, score four vs Martinique
Canada want to prove they are a legit side in Concacaf at this Gold Cup. They are without some of their star players, but the quality that has rose up in this side is telling. They looked to take it to a Martinique side that loves to play spoiler at each Gold Cup competition.
The match started off just like that. Martinique scored an early goal to take the lead in the 10th minute. Canada woke up after that goal went in, and scored three in the next 16 minutes. From that point on the Canadians dominated the match, holding the possession and stifling any Martinique counter attack chances. Canada move on in Group B topping the group after one match, while Martinique will need to get things situated to upset the USA in their second match.
USA grind out 1-0 win over Haiti
The USMNT came out with essentially their B-Team to this Gold Cup and played a pretty so-so match against Haiti. USA left back Sam Vines scored the games only goal in the 8th minute, but other than that, there were very few good opetunities to score. Haiti were organized and looked to hit the US on the counter, but this USA backline was stout enough to put out those fires.
The match would end 1-0 for the USA, but the team was not up to the level that coach Gregg Berhalter would want. The midfield was lacking and the attack was pretty toothless. Props to Haiti for keeping themselves in the game and making things a bit harder for USA. Subsitutes came in for the USMNT that looked better than starters, as this experiment in this tournament with the roster is taking shape. Haiti will move on to play Canada in the second matchday, while the US will look to play a much better second game vs Martinique.
Costa Rica is coming off a poor showing in the Concacaf Nations League, but they still should be favorites in this Group C. They have a strong experienced roster that gets to open up their group stage against a Guadaloupe. Guadaloupe is looking to punch above their weight and shock the region in this Gold Cup. Jamaica is looking to show that they are a true competitor in this Gold Cup. They could push for the top of the group if they can show their quality against their completion, starting with upstarts Suriname.
Jamaica are lethal on the counter and strong in goal, win 2-0
Jamaica’s Ragae Boyz took on a surprising addition to the Gold Cup, Suriname. The Suriname side was eger to show that they could compete, and did well to hold on to the ball and create chances. The only issue for them was that they allowed the talented Jamacia side the opportunity to counter.
Jamaica scored two goals on the counterattack inside of the first 30 minutes. This was enough to ensure they got all three points. That, and the effort of goalkeeper Andre Blake who made three huge saves. Suriname move on to try and get points from their next match vs Costa Rica, while Jamacia look to keep this good start going with their matchday two bout with Guadaloupe.
Costa Rica clobber Guadaloupe scorring three
Costa Rica are in an interesting spot at this Gold Cup. It is their old guard who are coming back to try to reinstate Costa Rica as a powerhouse in Concacaf. They got off to a hot start against Guadaloupe netting two goals in just 21 minutes. Guadaloupe didn’t just lay down though. They scored in first half stoppage tie to keep the pressure mounting, but things all changed in the second half.
Not 10 minutes into the second half Guadelope got a red card. This took their ability to counter attack away and made it easier for Costa Rica to find chances to score. Costa Rica added a thrid goal in the 70th minute which put the game out of reach for Guadaloupe. Costa Rica will look to keep that momentum going in their second group stage game agaisnt Suriname, while Guadelope gets ready to take on Jamaica.
Group D is one of the more compelling groups. It has Panama who is looking to move up the rankings and prepare for World Cup Qualifying. They take on guest nation Qatar; the current Asian Cup Champions are looking to be the only non-Concacaf nation to win the tournament. Honduras is the favorite of the Group. They opened their tournament an inexperienced Grenada side.
Panama and Qatar play in 3-3 thriller
Panama and Qatar played a thrilling match, but it didn’t start out that way. Both sides felt each other out in the first 45 minutes. It was clear that Panama wanted more of the ball, but had less quality build up; where as Qatar was fine with having less of the ball but knew how to create chances to score. This resulted in a goal frenzy in the second half.Five of the six goals in this match occurred in a 15 minute span.
Qatar took the lead twice with Panama answering shortly after each time. A penalty gave Qatar the lead in the 63rd minute, and it looked like the guests might just find all three points. However Panama made sure they were split after a penalty of their own was converted in the 79th minute. Panama will take the share of the points and look to build on it when they play Honduras on matchday two. Qatar will do the same as they face Grenada in their second group stage game.
Honduras show quality scoring four vs Grenada
Honduras are still a top side in Concacaf, even though there strong roster is aging a bit. They are a mix of savvy vets and the next generation. They took on a side in Grenada who were clearly trying to play up to Honduras’ level but just fell short when it mattered most. Honduras found the games opening goal in the 28th minute, but Grenada hung in there.
Grenada created cahcnes to get back into the match, but could only put three of those chances on target. Honduras then broke thecontest in the second half. They added three more goals to end the match in a 4-0 landslide. Honduras will take that momentum into a big match against Panama on matchday two, while Grenada will try to refine their finishing boots for their clash with Qatar next.
Matchday 2 is ongoing!
The Gold Cup is continuing on with its quick pace. Two matches are being played every night, and matchday two is already halfway over. Keep looking for that action on the Fox family of networks. We’ll have a recap of Matchday two once it’s completed, and we’ll take a look at the final matchday of the group stage that will roll along just as fast over this weekend!
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Mandatory Credit: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire