Group A is filled with goals

Group A: Guatemala, Panama and the United States win their matches and take one step closer to qualifying to the Under-20 World Cup. 

By Jorge Belon, Managing Editor 

Panama, Guatemala and the United States shutout their opponents and in the process combined for 12 goals in their victories on Wednesday at Independence Park at Kingston, Jamaica.

Game 1: Guatemala 2-0 Trinidad & Tobago 

Scorers: (Own goal, T&T) Martieon Watson 25th minute & (GUATE) Mauro Portillo 88th minute. 

The fairy tale of Guatemala continued on Wednesday after they found a way to win the game by only taking two shots, compared to the Soca Warriors 11. For the next couple nights, Trinidad & Tobago will be having nightmares of the Chapines goalie, Nicholas Hage. He kept the Caribbean nation off the scoreboard with his eight saves. 

The Soca Warriors had control of the game from the very start. However, bad luck for T&T would doom them, as they gave the Central Americans a gift by scoring an own-goal in the 25th minute.

Without even taking a shot, the Chapines found themselves up 1-0. In the second half T&T dominance continued. Guatemala parked the bus on defense and held out for a victory.

A foolish mistake from Caribbean goalie Johan Welch sealed the 2-0 victory for the Chapines. Welch took the ball out of the penalty box and dribbled to the far right corner of the field. He was then confronted by Portillo near the left hand side of the box. Instead of clearing the ball he attempted to elude the Central American with his non-existent footwork. In result, he tripped on the ball; Portillo recovered the loose ball and blasted a low shot to the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Highlights provided by CONCACAF,

Game 2: USA 8-0 Aruba 

Scorers: (USA) Romain Gall 16th minute, Bradford Jamieson IV 18th minute, Romain Gall 23rd minute, Thomas Thompson 26th minute, Emerson Hyndman 30th minute, Romain Gall 32nd minute, Bradford Jamieson IV 48th minute & Amando Moreno 84th minute.

The match was over the second the game started. The U.S. took a total of 31 shots compared to Aruba’s attempt with seven. When Gall broke the deadlock at the 16th minute, the floodgates opened. By the time the first half ended, the score was 6-0 and Gall had his hat-trick.

In the second half, the Yanks took their foot off the gas and only scored two goals to make it 8-0. For the entire 90 minutes, Aruba chased the shadows of the U.S. players. 

Highlights provided by CONCACAF,

Game 3: Jamaica 0-2 Panama 

Scorers: (PAN) Edson Samms 56th minute & (PAN) Ismael Diaz 87th minute.

This game was fast and physical for the entire 90 minutes. A combined 28 fouls and 22 shots between the two teams made this game a NASCAR race.

The first half of the game was a track meet. Both teams ran at each other but Panama would get 10 of their 16 shots in the first part. Regardless of the combined 14 chances the second half started scoreless.

At the 56th minute, Sammas received a long pass, turned his jets on and stormed past two Reggae Boyz defenders. He then blasted the ball at the top of the penalty box to the bottom right hand corner to take the 1-0 lead.

The Jamaicans failed to respond, and instead Panama sealed the deal three minutes before the match ended. Díaz showcased his crafty footwork on the top of the box and sent a bullet to the bottom left hand corner to make it 2-0.

Highlights provided by CONCACAF,

Tomorrow’s matches: Three games will be displayed for group B at the Montego Bay Sports Complex at Montego Bay, Jamaica on Thursday. The first match will be between Canada and El Salvador. The following game will be the big rivalry game of Mexico and Honduras. However, the day closes with a Caribbean match-up of Haiti and Cuba.

A victory for the Mexicans will put them just three points away from clinching a place in the U-20 World Cup. As for Canada’s and El Salvador’s game, neither team can afford team lose. Whoever loses the match will not be able to slip again or else their World Cup lives will be over. As for the final match, it will be for pride and respect for the two island nations. For both Cuba and Haiti the U-20 World Cup is now just a distant dream.

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