The focus shifted to Group C of the 2019 Gold Cup as the action continued with a pair of matches Monday.
El Salvador, which has reached the quarterfinals in three of the last four tournaments, opened the group against Curacao. Curacao is looking for its first Gold Cup win since 1969.
Back-to-back runner-up Jamaica meets another Gold Cup mainstay, Honduras, to bring Monday to a close.
Here’s a look at how the night unfolded.
El Salvador def. Curacao, 1-0
Jamaica def. Honduras, 3-2
Panama vs. Trinidad and Tobago, 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
United States vs. Guyana, 10 p.m. ET (FS1)
Full Gold Cup schedule is available at the tournament’s official site
1. Jamaica: 3 pts; +1 GD
2. El Salvador: 3 pts; +1 GD
3. Honduras: 0 pts; -1 GD
4. Curacao: 0 pts; -1 GD
Full group standings are available on the Gold Cup’s official site El Salvador 1, Curacao 0
Nelson Bonilla scored in the first minute of first-half injury time, and that’s all El Salvador needed to walk away with three points and a victory over Curacao.
Bonilla capitalized on a mistake by Curacao defender Cuco Martina. Martina’s touch allowed the Bangkok United forward to have a clear scoring chance one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Goal’s Jon Arnold thought the goal was down to more than blind luck, though:
Curacao only managed three shots overall and one shot on target. El Salvador finished with nine and five, respectively.
The outcome may have looked far different if Leandro Bacuna made better contact with this header from close range in the first half:
Otherwise, Curacao mustered little in the final third.
For the most part, it was a workmanlike win for El Salvador. Curacao was careful not to overextend itself too much in the attack, thus leaving major gaps for El Salvador to exploit. And facing off with defensive sides can be a tricky test, even for teams with a clear talent edge.
Considering his team’s toughest matches in Group C are still to come, coach Carlos de los Cobos will want to see his players find another level when they return to the pitch Friday against Jamaica.
Jamaica 3, Honduras 2
A late goal from Rubilio Castillo came too little, too late for Honduras to avoid a 3-2 defeat to Jamaica.
The Reggae Boyz jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half following a brace by Dever Orgill.
Much of the attention heading into the match centered on Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey, who had yet to make his full Jamaica debut. Bailey started against Honduras and needed just under 15 minutes to make an impact.
The 21-year-old helped set up Orgill’s first goal.
Orgill got some good fortune to double Jamaica’s lead. His goal came at the end of a solid passing move, but his shot deflected off Honduran defender Henry Figueroa and left Luis Lopez with no chance of making the save.
Anthony Lozano got Honduras into the match with a 54th-minute goal. Two minutes later, Damion Lowe canceled out the tally to make it a 3-1 game.
Jamaica was devastating on the counterattack. It had eight goals on target despite only finishing with 43 percent of possession.
The time has never been better for Jamaica to have its Gold Cup breakthrough. The United States largely remains in disarray, and neither Mexico nor Costa Rica is untouchable. Especially with Bailey aboard, the Reggae Boyz are the biggest threat to end the U.S./Mexico Gold Cup duopoly.