Gold Cup: High drama in Houston

The 70,788 fans who filled NRG Stadium in Houston for a Gold Cup doubleheader on Saturday certainly got their money's worth.

Tournament favorite Mexico survived a shootout to eliminate Costa Rica, while blew a 2-0 lead over Haiti and lost a 3-2 decision in a stunning reversal.

Star Raul Jimenez, who scored the lone Mexico goal in regulation, had the first attempt in the shootout saved by Leonel Moreira, but Randall Leal missed for the Ticos in the third round and Guillermo Ochoa saved Keysher Fuller's attempt in the first round of sudden death to give Mexico a 5-4 win.

Costa Rican Bryan Ruiz's penalty kick had tied the game early in the second half, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie, the first blemish for Mexico after seven straight wins under new coach Tata Martino.

The former Atlanta United coach will be suspended from the bench for the semifinal against Haiti after he picked up his second yellow of the tournament. Under new rules introduced in 2018, coaches and members of their staffs can be formally issued yellow or red cards instead of warnings or ejections.

Canada appeared to be in complete control of the first game, taking a 2-0 lead on goals by young star Jonathan David, who was born in Brooklyn to Haitian parents, and Lucas Cavallini, but sloppy defending allowed Haiti back in the match in the second half.

A poor backpass by Canadian defender Marcus Godinho allowed Haitian Duckens Nazon to sneak in and reduce the deficit to one goal in the 50th minute. After a Godinho foul inside the box, Herve Bazile equalized in the 70th minute, and six minutes later Haiti amazingly pulled ahead on a goal by Wilde-Donald Guerrier.

The loss is a huge setback for Canada under new coach John Herdman.

"We are all gutted," he said. "We are disappointed in that second-half performance because we gave Haiti everything that they wanted. We've got all the talent here, but at the end of the day Haiti were very direct and made it difficult for us. That was tough.

Five Haiti players came out of U.S. youth ranks: Andrew Jean Baptiste, Steeven Saba, Frantzdy Pierrot, Derrick Etienne and Zachary Herivaux. In addition, two players play for USL teams: Jems Geffrard (Fresno FC) and Bicou Bissainthe (North Texas SC).

2 comments about "Gold Cup: High drama in Houston".
  1. R2 Dad, June 30, 2019 at 11:23 a.m.

    Tata made a good point. Liga Mx has VAR. MLS has VAR. But CONCACAF doesn't? Why not?

  2. beautiful game, June 30, 2019 at 4:37 p.m.

    Good game, both teams gave it all. Biggest peeve is that FIFA is too concerned about having the referees counsel players at every set-play to ad nauseam. Soccer et al is turning into a reality-TV sporting event. More emphasis on facial expressions starting with players, bench, referee, coaches, etc, rather  than giving the viewer a great view of the pitch instead of resorting to the 'silent movie era ' of piggy-backing mug-shots 360+ times per game; and sometimes camera-jumping on facials 8 to 10 times in a matter of 1o seconds. I'm getting a headache!!! 

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