Not even two years ago, the country of Haiti was struck by an earthquake, leaving the entire country and it's soccer federation devastated.
As the country and it's soccer team rebuilds, the Haitian national team, who were eliminated from the 2014 World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF's second round, recorded just their third ever victory in the Gold Cup against Trinidad and Tobago in front of a pro-Haiti crowd from Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
Jean-Eude Maurice scored the brace for Haiti, who moved into second place in Group B with a 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago. After displaying some wasteful finishing in their opener against Honduras, Maurice was able to find his scoring touch early in the game.
In the 16th minute, Maurice pounced on a rebound off a long shot to give Haiti the early lead. Trinidad keeper Jan Williams (3 saves) was only able to parry the initial long blast right to the Haitian striker and was still on the ground as the ball went past him and into the net. In the 53rd minute, Maurice double the lead as he literally ran onto a ball from close range, redirecting a Trinidad clearance into the net with his upper leg.
Trinidad and Tobago almost scored an equalizer right after the halftime restart, but Densil Theobald bounced off the post in the 46th. Officially, Trinidad and Tobago did not record a shot on goal despite launching a total of 15 shots. Haitian keeper Frandy Montrevil did not record a save in the shutout victory.
In the nightcap, Honduras and El Salvador seemed destined for a hard fought and physical draw. That all changed in second half stoppage time, as Jorge Claros received the ball in the center of the box, turned and fired past Salvadorean keeper Dagoberto Portillo (2 saves) to steal a 1-0 win. After a Honduras free kick in the attacking third, El Salvador cleared the initial ball, but failed to step up defensively, leaving Claros all alone as he was kept onside and lifted Honduras in the quarterfinals.
Claros, who in June of 2011 was shot in the head and almost killed in a carjacking attempt in Honduras, scored this third international goal and first since January 2011. Honduras almost took the lead in the first half, but was ruled offsides as Mario Berrios appeared to be a shoulder ahead of the last defender. Honduran keeper Donis Escober had two saves in the shutout that featured a total of twenty seven fouls.
Group B concludes in BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston as El Salvador will take on Haiti in the first game, followed by Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago. A draw for Honduras will be enough to clinch the group while El Salvador will need a win over Haiti and help to jump into second place.