Gold Cup - Costa Rica wins Group A as Canada advances

Published Saturday, July 15, 2017 9:14 PM by Shane Barrow

Costa Rica took care of business on Friday night in Frisco, Texas as they won Group A as expected.  Both Canada and Honduras also advanced from the group to the quarterfinal round of play in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Coming into the doubleheader all three teams had sights on winning the bracket in the Texas heat.  Costa Rica came out flying announcing their intentions right from the opening whistle and grabbed a lead in only the 4th minute of play against minnows French Guyana.  Ariel Rodriguez poked home a corner kick and Costa Rica were on their way.

French Guyana had two chances to get on level terms early in the second half, but Shaquille Dutard's effort from close range was blocked away by the Costa Rica defense before Rhudy Evens skied over the crossbar from just outside the penalty area.  Baal then put his team at a massive disadvantage in the 62nd minute when he took a swing at a Costa Rica defender following a foul and was shown a straight red card, leaving his team to finish the match with 10 men. It was one way traffic from there as French Guyana offered little tactical discipline or fight.

A pair of substitutes combined for Costa Rica's second when Rodney Wallace fired home from eight yards away after Marco Urena set him up with a perfect pass after a long run down the left flank.

David Ramirez provided the third for his team, hitting a first-time shot past Donovan Leon after Bryan Ruiz split the defense with a seeing-eye through ball. The win sees Los Ticos through to the quarterfinals, while French Guiana are eliminated after earning zero points in three matches.

In the nightcap both Canada and Honduras went toe to toe in an entertaining match.  Canada's Marcel De Jong had two early opportunities to put his team in front, the first a close-range volley that went just over the crossbar and the second a low, line drive that hit the post. Both teams created several scoring chances with both goalkeepers making quality saves to keep the match scoreless.  

As the night wore on the two teams realized the scoreline would work for both of them.  The match noticably slowed over the last 20 minutes of play.  A flurry from Honduras in stoppage time almost won the night though.  Canada keeper Milan Borjan pushed away a close range header in the closing seconds to keep Canada 2nd in the group.

The result sees Canada through to the quarterfinals after finishing in second place in Group A, while Honduras is assured of being one of the best third-place finishers and makes the knockout rounds as well.