Cuba V Guatemala Charlotte, NC
This was a very important game for both teams as Guatemala and Cuba were still in contention depending on whether Mexico lose, goal difference, and potentially being a “best” 3rd place team. The game started lively with Cuba showing great intent and ambition. They showed no signs of letting off-the-field distractions hamper their dream of being here and representing their country with honor.
First 15 minutes, Cuba looked sharp knocking the ball around especially down the right flank. During that time Guatemala was all over the place. Ariel Martinez for Cuba was bright, taking on his men, dribbling, passing and drawing fouls. In the Middle Jorge Clavelo and Daniel Saez were bossing the middle by breaking up the plays and playing one and two touch passes.
For Guatemala, Ruiz was their only standout performer. He looked good with the ball at his feet but lacks speed and space which is expected at his age. He had few half chances, one coming off an exquisite volley that maybe he could have taken two touches. The first half was dull after the first 25 minutes or so and so was the second half until the 73rd minute.
Maykel Reyes scored a superb header to finish an also wonderful cross. The Cuban players was elated and at that point I’m sure they knew if they held onto that score line they could play at least one more game. Cuba continued to press and outplay Guatemala who will be looking for answers to why they weren’t able to break down Cuba. Cuba on the other hand will be proud of what they achieved beside the first game against Mexico, they can be happy.
Mexico V Trinidad
This was a mouthwatering game to say the least. Both teams coming in full of confidence and the Soca warriors top the group that was expected to be led by El Tri (Mexico). As expected, El Tri started off with plenty of possession with each play going through Jonathan Dos Santos. Trinidad’s tactic was to sit back and absorb pressure which quickly worked against them. Mexico was very patient but could not find an outlet. This led to them passing the ball from side to side with no real chances created until the 32’ minute through a Paul Aguilar strike between the keepers leg off the near post. From then on there was only one team playing.
Mexico continued to create half chances with Vela and Gio Dos Santos. The game would end at 1-0 in the first half with the Mexicans looking much in control. Carlos Vela showed his class early in the second half after being put through on goal. He raced away down the left side of box, dropped his shoulder to cut in on his weaker right foot before slotting it in off the near post. At this point we are thinking its damage control for the Soca Warriors.
Keron Cummings made it 2-1 after a wonderful run by Kenwyne Jones beat a few defenders to provide the assist. Vela was then put through again with only the keeper to beat but Marvin Phillips made himself big and reduced the spaces which allowed Vela to just miss wide of the left post. Within a minute Mexico gave up possession in the middle and Trinidad broke away on the right side allowing Codell Cato to provide a superb cross on the floor for Kenwyne Jones to beat his defender to it and put it away. The goal of the game, to up 3-2 for Trinidad was absolutely fantastic.
Simple throw in on the right side again to Kenwyne who chested it down for Keron Cummings to unleash a bullet off his left foot into the corner. From this point there was only one team playing, Trinidad resort to sitting back and trying to manage the clock which opened the game up for El Tri. Mexico then scored in the 88th minute off some sloppy defending that allowed a poor clearance out the box to fall to Guardado who rifled it from outside the 18 yard box. Mexico pushed on from there to take the lead 4-3 after a patient build up which resulted in Hector Herrera’s cross deflecting off Kenwyne Jones.
The El Tri supporters, all 56,000 plus were going crazy thinking they had just won the group until Yohance Marhsall equalized with a bullet header in the 93′ minute of stoppage off Joevin Jones’ corner. Great game, both teams played well, Jonathan Dos Santos will only get better in the middle and showed why he was at Barca’s La Masia. Both team will go into the knockout stage feeling good about their chances, especially the Soca Warriors who are the group winner.