Little Haiti can say that they outplayed Honduras for long stretches in their Gold Cup opener. But when it comes to the scoreboard, it was Honduras who put away their chances and Haiti left wonder what might have been.
Rony Martinez and Honduras took advantage of a non-foul call to quickly go up 1-0 in the fourth minute. Haiti's claims for a foul were waved away by referee Hugo Alvarez of Costa Rica as Martinez beat Haitian keeper Frandy Montrevil over the left shoulder. But instead of folding, Haiti searched for an equalizer.
It would never come. Despite three saves by Honduran keeper Donis Escober, Haiti wasted several opportunities to tie the match before Marvin Chavez sealed three points for Honduras by connecting in the 78th minute with a low shot past Montrevil who failed to record a save on the evening.
The stat of the match would be the shooting numbers; Honduras recorded two shots on goal, both leading to goals, out of six total. Haiti put up a total of 23 shots, but just three on target and all saved by Escober, sometimes spectacularly.
Haiti would have great opportunities from Leonel Saint-Pruex and Jeff Louis throughout the match, but in the rare occasion that Haiti were able to find the target, Haiti's attack was unable to get past Escober and Haiti move to the bottom of the group with two games to play.
In the first game of the evening from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago played out to a draw but there was no shortage in drama.
Philadelphia Union midfielder Keon Daniel opened the scoring for T&T in the eleventh minute, receiving the ball at the top of the box and slotting past Salvadorean keeper Dagoberto Portillo (3 saves). El Salvador would answer through Rodolfo Zelaya, who put a stunning free kick up and over the wall and past T&T keeper Jan Williams (2 saves). It was Zelaya again in the 69th, this time putting El Salvador in front, heading home a deflected cross from the right wing into the center of the net. It was a short lived lead however, as T&T came roaring back minutes later in the 73rd, as Kenwyne Jones received a long ball from his back line and knifed towards goal, slotting home the equalizer.
At 2-2 late in the game both teams saw chances in the closing minutes, T&T's Carlos Edwards denied from 12 yards by Portillo in the 78th. In the 83rd, Osael Romero found the right post for El Salvador and no one was able to put away the rebound into the open net as the ball caromed through the goal box. El Salvador would have one more chance in the 89th, but Zelaya was denied his hat-trick on a bicycle kick spectacularly denied by Williams to preserve the point for T&T.
Group B continues July 12th from Sun Life Stadium in Miami with Trinidad and Tobago taking on Haiti followed by Honduras and El Salvador.