Group B: Mexico is on the verge of qualifying to the Under-20 World Cup, while El Salvador attempts to keep pace with El Tri.
By Jorge Belon, Managing Editor
With Mexico winning their match, they are now three points away from qualifying to the Under-20 World Cup. El Salvador barely surviving the Canadian scare keeps them within some distance of the powerhouse Mexicans. All three group B matches were played on Thursday and at Montego Bay Sports Complex at Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Game 1: El Salvador 3-2 Canada
Scorers: (ESL) Bryan Ruiz 43rd minute, (CAN) Hanson Boakai 47th minute, (ESL) Jose Villanicencio 77th minute, (CAN) Kianz Froese 78th minute & (ESL) Romilio Hernández 90th + 4th minute.
A game that was filled with drama since both teams needed a victory, would take a last second goal from El Salvador to decide who would get the three points in the match. The first goal came from the Central Americans forward Ruiz; he beat a Canucks defender to a bouncing ball in the penalty box. Ruiz was able to get a poke it with his toe, and the ball floated over the Canadian goalies head and into the net, to make it 1-0.
In the second half both teams combined for four goals, with the first one coming from Canada. The Northern Americans were able to tie the match with a spectacular low hard shot from Hanson Boakai at the 47th minute. However, 30 minutes later the Salvadorians recaptured the lead with Jose Villanicencio long range bomb to the upper left hand corner to make it 2-1.
Les Rouges responded right away with substitute Kianz Froese cutting through the penalty box with four Salvadorian in his way. He kept his cool and perfectly placed the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net to make it 2-2 at the 78th minute.
The thrilling game seemed destined to end in a tie, but La Selecta had one more trick up their sleeve. In a corner kick, a Salvadorian took a header going directly to the net but the Canadian goalie made the reaction save. However, Hernández would put the loose ball into the back of the net to give the Central Americans the 3-2 vital victory.
El Salvador is now in second place because of the victory, but they are not yet qualified to the World Cup. With just three points separating them from fifth place Haiti, they cannot afford to blow anymore points in the final two matches. Now here is the bad news, their next match is against Mexico. El Tri will be entering the match to win since a victory will automatically get them into the World Cup.
With Mexico going all out against their Salvadorian rivals and most likely getting the victory, Canada will have the chance to rebound. Their next match is against Cuba, and this is a game that they will have to win and by a few goals to improve their goal differential. Both of these matches will be played on Monday at Montego Bay Sports Complex at Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Highlights provided by CONCACAF, http://youtu.be/pfNrclCX7X0.
Game 2: Mexico 3-0 Honduras
Scorers: (MEX) Alejandro Díaz 15th minute (Penalty), (MEX) Hirving Lozano 31st minute & (MEX) Victor Guzmán 89th minute.
The Mexicans showed in this victory over their rivals that they do not need to have all 11-players to win a match. After breaking down the Hondurans defense to get a 2-0 lead, El Tri defender Oscar Bernal was given a direct red card at the 70th minute.
The Central Americans had 20 minutes to take advantage of being a man up, and they failed to get a single goal. Yes they manage to get six of their nine shots in that time period, but it would be the Mexicans who would score the last goal to make it 3-0.
Now El Tri needs just one more victory to punch their ticket to the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. All they have to do is take care of business of Salvador. As for the Central Americans, they will need to rebound against Haiti, if they fail to do so then their World Cup lives will be hanging by a string.
Both matches will be played on Monday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
Highlights provided by CONCACAF, http://youtu.be/tmMeMZNPZ2Q.
Game 3: Haiti 2-2 Cuba
Scorers: (CUBA) Roberney Caballero 28th minute, (HAT) Demas Fernander 57th minute, (HAT) Woodensky Cherenfat 72nd minute & (CUBA) Yendri Torres 90th + 1st minute.
A match that was slow because of 26 fouls between the two teams resulted in a 2-2 draw. A game that both teams had to win to really keep their World Cup dreams realistically alive, failed to do so. Poor defense played a big part to all four goals scored in the match, and plus both teams missed at least three chances to change the outcome. These chances were either wide open nets or just one defender in front of them.
However, regardless of both teams failing to win neither are out of the World Cup. But both Cuba and Haiti have no more room for error. The Cubans will be playing Canada; if they lose they are out of the World Cup. The same thing goes for Haiti, and they will be facing a desperate Honduras. Both matches will be played on Monday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
Highlights provided by CONCACAF, http://youtu.be/JM8kLtZRlrc.
Next Matches: Group A will be in action on Sunday at Montego Bay Sports Complex, all six teams will be playing. The first match will be group leaders Panama facing Trinidad & Tobago. The second match will be Guatemala facing Aruba, and the last match will Jamaica facing the United States.
A victory for Panama will require them to only get one more win to qualify for the World Cup. The Soca Warriors will need to get some sort of positive result against the Central Americans; if they lose then they will be on the verge of being eliminated. Guatemala will finally be favorites in a match as they take on Aruba. Anything else but a victory against the Caribbean nation will be an outrage for the Chapines.
The United States and the host nation Jamaica both have to win; draws do not help at this time. However, whoever looses will be eliminated.