Group A is almost set

Group A: Panama and Guatemala get closer to clinching the Under-20 World Cup, as the U.S. begins to pick up their rhythm. 

By Jorge Belon, Managing Editor 

Panama and Guatemala are in a heated race after defeating their opponents on Sunday at Montego Bay Sports Complex at Montego Bay, Jamaica. As for the Americans they are starting pick up some confidence after a shaky start to the Under-20 CONCACAF Championship by getting their second victory with a shutout.

Game 1: Panama 1-0 Trinidad & Tobago

Scorer: (PAN) Michael Murillo 78th minute.

Panama got their fourth victory in four games by dominating the Soca Warriors. The Canaleros took a total of 14 shots and the Caribbean nation only took three. The final score would have been more lopsided if it was not for Trinidad & Tobago goalie John Welch’s almost perfect performance. The young keeper had nine saves and kept his team in the match even after they got two red cards and went down to nine men.

However, Panama’s constant attack finally broke Welch at the 78th minute. Murillo crossed the ball from the right hand side of the field, and it appeared to be an ordinary catch for the goalie to make. But he failed to control the pass and let the ball bend his fingers as it rolled into the net to give Panama the 1-0 victory.

Now all Panama needs to do is tie second place Guatemala and they will qualify to the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand. As for T&T, they still have a chance to make the second round, but they must beat the United States by eight goals. Both matches will take place on Wednesday at Montego Bay Sports Complex.

Highlights provided by CONCACAF,

Game 2: Guatemala 2-0 Aruba 

Scorers: (GUATE) Carlos Estrada 42nd minute & (GUATE) Kevin Bordon 60th minute. 

Guatemala dominated the match by taking 24 shots and only let Aruba take seven, However, the Chapines failed to convert on their multiple chances, because that game was scoreless until the last minutes of the first half. Estrada controlled the ball with his chest. In the heart of the penalty box, he then bicycle-kicked the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

The Chapines continued their dominance in the second half, and they also continued to miss all their chances. Until the 60th minute the Central Americans made it 2-0. Bordon continued to fight for the loose ball after he attempted to score and his original shot was blocked. While on the grass he got his own rebound and scissor-kicked the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0.

Guatemala will have a chance to win the group and directly qualify to the World Cup if they defeat Panama. If they draw with them, they will have to win their next match to go to New Zealand.

As for Aruba, they are officially out of the World Cup, and now their last game against Jamaica will be just for pride. Both matches will take place on Wednesday at Montego Bay Sports Complex.

Highlights provided by CONCACAF,

Game 3: Jamaica 0-2 USA

Scorers: (USA) Romain Gall 33th & 70th minute (Both were penalties.). 

The Americans got their second victory in a row with midfielder Romain Gall getting his fourth and fifth goal of the tournament making him the current leading scorer. The Yanks failed to convert on their 11 other chances. If it was not for Gall’s clutch penalties, the U.S. might have been in serious trouble heading into their final group stage match.

Regardless of being the host nation, Jamaica has been officially eliminated from the World Cup. Now they will face Aruba and need to get a victory. If not they will finish dead last in group A.

As for the Yanks, they are not of the woods yet; they need to beat Trinidad & Tobago or tie them to make the second round. Both matches will be played on Wednesday at Montego Bay Sports Complex.

Highlights provided by CONCACAF,


Tomorrow’s matches: Group B will be in action with all six nations playing at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Monday. Cuba and Canada will kick off the day. The second match will be Mexico taking on El Salvador, and then the day ends with Haiti facing Honduras.

Canada will have to defeat Cuba if they still want to have a chance to qualify for the World Cup. If the Canadians have a small chance of making the World Cup, then the Cubans have a 1% chance out of 100% just getting to the next round. They have to win every match and hope that a few teams lose their games on the way, but they must start by beating Canada.

As for Mexico, if they defeat El Salvador they qualify to the World Cup, with one game left to spare in the group stages. The Salvadorians on the other hand will need to beat El Tri, or they could drop to fifth place and their trip to New Zealand for the World Cup might be in serious jeopardy.

In the final match Honduras will need to beat Haiti to grab hold of second place and keep pace with Mexico, if the Mexicans fail to beat Salvador. As for Haiti if they fail to defeat Honduras then they will be eliminated from the tournament.

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