Jamaica hold USA 1-1; Mexico hammer Honduras 4-0 in CONCACAF Gold Cup

Mexico hammered the Honduras 4-0 in their opening match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, marking their first win under interim coach Jaime Lozano.

Luis Romo scored Mexico’s quickest goal in Gold Cup history, finding the back of the net only 50 seconds into the game. He extended the lead in the 23rd minute with a close-range header, capitalising on Jesus Gallardo’s flicked header from a corner kick.

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Orbelin Pineda added to the scoreline in the 52nd minute, dribbling into the penalty area and netting his eighth international goal. In the 64th minute, Luis Chavez converted a penalty to secure his second international goal.

Diego Cocca was dismissed as Mexico coach following the CONCACAF Nations League, where Mexico lost 3-0 to the US in the semifinals but clinched a 1-0 victory over Panama to take third place.

In another intense encounter, Randon Vazquez came to the rescue for the United States, preventing them from suffering their first-ever loss in a CONCACAF Gold Cup opening match.

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Vazquez’s goal in the 88th minute secured a 1-1 draw against Jamaica, who are ranked 63rd, on Saturday night. He entered the game just six minutes earlier, making his competitive international debut for the U.S.

Jamaica took the lead in the 13th minute through Damion Lowe, while US goalkeeper Matt Turner saved a penalty kick to keep his team in the game. The defending champions equalised when Jesus Ferreira’s cross deflected off defender Dexter Lembikisa and fell to Vazquez, who scored with a right-footed shot. It was Vazquez’s second goal in four international appearances.

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Lowe, earning his 53rd international cap, scored his third goal with a header from 8 yards after Demarai Gray’s free kick. Gray, who recently switched his affiliation from England, made his Reggae Boyz debut.

Turner made a crucial save in the 29th minute, diving to his left to parry Leon Bailey’s penalty kick. Bailey missed the follow-up with his weaker right foot. The penalty was awarded when Aidan Morris brought down Kevon Lambert after a throw-in.

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Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake denied Jordan Morris’ open shot with a deflection using his right arm in first-half stoppage time, and he later blocked Cristian Roldan’s effort in the 71st minute with his leg.

The United States has an impressive record in Gold Cup openers. They have won 15 out of 16 previous matches, with a 1-1 draw against Panama in 2017. In the group stage, the they have recorded 38 wins, five draws, and only one loss, a 2-1 defeat to Panama in 2011.

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In the Group B doubleheader’s first game, Haiti defeated invited guest Qatar 2-1. Frantzdy Pierrot scored the winning goal in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time, while Yusuf Abdurisag gave Qatar the lead in the 20th minute, and Duckens Nazon equalised in the first minute of first-half stoppage time.

Meanwhile, in Group A held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Trinidad and Tobago secured a comfortable 3-0 win over St. Kitts and Nevis. Alvin Jones found the back of the net in the 43rd minute, Ajani Fortune scored in the 65th minute, and Jameel Ible scored an own goal in the 73rd minute.

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On another note, CONCACAF, the governing body for football in North and Central America and the Caribbean, has suspended American midfielder Weston McKennie and defender Sergino Dest. Their suspensions stem from their ejections during the Nations League semifinal against Mexico on June 15.

McKennie has been suspended for four games, while Dest has received a three-game suspension due to their conduct on the field. Additionally, Mexican defender Cesar Montes and defender Gerardo Arteaga have also been suspended for four and three matches, respectively.

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Neither Dest nor McKennie are included in the roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The US Soccer Federation had previously announced a predominantly junior varsity roster for the tournament, and they have clarified that the games played during the Gold Cup will count towards the players’ suspensions.

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