In four previous Gold Cup games, Curacao hadn’t even managed a goal, let alone a point. After a stunning upset in Houston yesterday, Curacao has a legitimate shot at the quarterfinals.
Leandro Bacuna was the hero, scoring his country’s first Gold Cup goal in the 40th minute and keeper Eloy Room made 13 saves in a shutout effort as Curacao moved to within one point of group leaders Jamaica and El Salvador.
Room made seven of his saves in the first half as Honduras made relentless attacks on the Curacao goal. Overall Honduras attempted 35 shots, putting 13 on target, but Room was up to the task and Curacao capitalized on their one chance.
Gevaro Nepomuceno centered a pass from the right wing back across to the top of the box, and Bacuna was able to turn and fire off a low shot that snuck past Luis Lopez and into the Honduras net. Honduras thought they had an equalizer at the hour mark, only to have the offside flag go up.
In the first game of the night, Jamaica and El Salvador played to a lackluster 0-0 draw that featured just three shots combined on target and the first one came in the 76th minute. El Salvador midfielder Darwin Ceren, playing on his home Houston Dynamo ground, helped stymie a Jamaica attack that when they did get shots off, were usually from long range.
The draw kept Jamaica and El Salvador at the top of the group on four points, with the Reggae Boyz having the tiebreaker with goals scored. Curacao now sits at third one point behind and Honduras is shockingly eliminated with one match to play as the best they can do is get to three points with a win in their final game.
Group C is now in pure chaos, as the advancement scenarios are quite involving now. Any wins from Jamaica, El Salvador, and Curacao would advance them into the group. Draws for Jamaica and El Salvador would also be enough to advance on five points, one above Curacao. A Curacao draw coupled with a multi-goal El Salvador loss could get Curacao through on goal difference.
Group C concludes on Tuesday June 25th from Los Angeles’ Banc of California Stadium when Jamaica and Curacao kick off at 8pm followed by Honduras and El Salvador at 1030pm.