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Gold Cup Recaps: Seattle’s Alex Roldan, Hartford’s Martinez Lift El Salvador Late; Thoughts on Canada, USA Victories

El Salvador takes a surprising lead in Group A after one match while favorites Canada and the USA lead Group B with three points apiece.


In the night cap of yesterday’s Gold Cup triple header, El Salvador rallied late to a 2-0 victory over Guatemala in Group A in a match pushed back a day to accommodate Guatemala’s late entry into the tournament for COVID slammed Curacao squad.

Despite the late entry, Guatemala proved to be as pesky as ever, forcing mostly long range shots from El Salvador in the first half. The second half though saw La Selecta turn up the pressure, with the addition of Seattle Sounders midfielder Alex Roldan on his international debut as the difference maker with an 81st minute goal. Late substitute Walmer Martinez of the USL’s Hartford Athletic streaked forward in stoppage time to find Joaquin Rivas for the late insurance goal to seal the victory.

The win surprisingly puts El Salvador atop Group A after one match with favorites Mexico being held to a 0-0 draw by Trinidad and Tobago in the tourney opener. Despite Guatemala’s stubborn resistance, it was a tough ask for them entering the tournament to get a result and I think holding on until the 80th minute before giving up a high quality goal for the winner is more than a reasonable performance despite being on the wrong end of a pretty wide shot margin.

Group A returns to action on Wednesday July 14th with T&T and El Salvador at 730 pm from Frisco, TX and Guatemala and Mexico at 930 pm from the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.


Josh Nye has the full recap in this one and it’s basically a Tajon Buchanan highlight reel. Without big stars Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies, Buchanan stepped into the starting lineup at left wing and immediately began wreaking havoc.

However, Canada did find themselves down 0-1 in the opening minutes after a mistake at the back lead to a quick counter and Emmanuel Rivière notched the opener for Martinique. After than, Buchanan and Canada started to take over, as Tajon drew fouls and corner kicks before getting a direct assist on the game winner to Jonathan Osorio.


Sam Minton has our recap for this one, and if we’re being honest, this was a fairly lackluster performance from the USA here. Despite going up 1-0 early thanks to Sam Vines’ first international goal, losing Paul Arriola in the early stages seemed to damper the USA’s effectiveness going forward until some second half subs. Gianluca Busio in particular was a tremendous spark off the bench making his debut on his home turf in Kansas City, and his wicked volley was the US’s best chance at an insurance goal, only to be parried away by Bryan Sylvestre in the Haiti net who had a Man of the Match performance in the loss in my opinion.

I went on a bit of rant last night to get some thoughts off my chest as I had too much time to think on the way to work. You can read the specific details in that thread but the US lineup and roster selection is kind of a mess. The width is supposed to come from the fullbacks but too often the ball got wide and the US checked up and played the ball back and weren’t able to break down a set Haiti defense. Something is major is going to have to change either tactically or personnel wise if the USA wants to win this group with the way Canada is playing. Rightback Shaq Moore however had a solid outing and if he’s marking Buchanan in the Group B finale that will be an absolutely fantastic individual matchup.

Matt Turner was fine and did all the necessary shot stopping but the United States really need to figure out playing out of the back because they were bad at it yesterday and Turner found himself under pressure with the ball far too often as Haiti’s pressure forced a lot of backwards passing. Knowing that goal difference could come into play, spending a good hour in this match against Haiti not looking for a second goal was very frustrating.

Group B returns to action Thursday July 15th from Kansas City again with Haiti and Canada kicking off at 730pm followed by Martinique and the United States at 930pm.