The first game of Friday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup doubleheader at Sun Life Stadium, Haiti’s 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago, possessed all the finish. The second game showed everything but finish — until right before the finish.
Two minutes into injury time, Honduras’ Edder Delgado Zeron one-timed an El Salvador clear of a free kick back into the area where it found Jorge Claros Juarez behind the El Salvador defense. Claros Juarez rifled a drive into the far-upper corner for a 1-0 Honduras win.
El Salvador’s Kevin Santamaria Guzman came close to breaking the scoreless tie first, in the 87th minute. Santamaria Guzman neatly swiped the ball from Honduran backliner Brayan Beckeles feet outside the area, then immediately fired only to hit the right post.
Honduras, which beat Haiti on Monday in New Jersey, keeps the lead in Group B with six points going into its Monday game with Trinidad in Houston. Haiti sits second with three points. Trinidad and El Salvador each have one point from their tie Monday.
Friday’s announced attendance was 28,713.
Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart wanted more passion and creativity from his side Friday. Perhaps Hart should also request more finishing skill, which is what Haiti’s Jean Eudes Maurice provided for Haiti to score once in each half.
The win broke a seven-game winless streak in international matches for Haiti.
Maurice opened the scoring in the 16th minute.
“On the first goal, we failed to press the ball,” Hart said. “We knew they liked to shoot from outside. The shot came in and he got the rebound. We played some better football in the second half of the first half. At times, we were playing ball possession for ball possession’s sake.”
The second goal began with a Maurice run up the middle, then a feed to Yves Hadley Desmaret coming down the left flank. Desmaret’s cross met a desperate, lunging clearing attempt by Trinidad’s Carlyle Mitchell, which only put the ball on Maurice’s foot with the net beckoning. Maurice buried the shot and Trinidad.
“We lacked any sort of movement in the final third to get behind them,” Hart said. “One of the things we needed to do was press Haiti high up the pitch and take advantage of the wide parts of the field. When we did that, we got our best chances.”
In Friday’s postgame, Haiti coach Israel Blake Cantero wound up answering more questions about who he played and substituted Monday than what his team did Friday.
Through an interpreter, Cantero called “immature” any idea that personal problems with Jeff Louis led to his substituting Jean Phillippe Peguero for Louis on Monday.
“Last game against Honduras, in the first 45 minutes, we had five clear chances to score,” Cantero said with a laugh. “But you’re saying because I made bad substitutions.”