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After much anticipation, the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup finally kicked off on Tuesday night in Frisco, Texas. Unfancied Haiti drew 1-1 with Panama in the opener, with the United States lumbering to a 2-1 win over Honduras in the evening’s second game.
The Haitians are heroes, the Americans are uninspiring
07/08/2015
 
USA vs Honduras, Group Stage, Gold Cup

After much anticipation, the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup finally kicked off on Tuesday night in Frisco, Texas.


Unfancied Haiti drew 1-1 with Panama in the opener, with the United States lumbering to a 2-1 win over Honduras in the evening’s second game.


Panama, who came within a minute of denying Mexico a place in last summer’s World Cup, were expect to easily breeze past Les Grenadiers – but a resolute performance from the islanders gave rise to an early surprise result.


Panama (54) are almost twenty five places above Haiti (76) in the FIFA World Rankings, but there was little sign of a huge difference in quality last night.


The chances in the first half were evenly split, but it was Panama who struck first when ten minutes after the break a defensive error from Reginal Goreux allowed Alberto Quintero to lash the ball home into the top corner from 18 yards.


Haiti continued with a physical pressing game, getting their rewards in the 85th minute when substitute Duckens Nazon sliced through the Panama defense and coolly slotted past Jaime Penedo.

Dukens Nazon, Haiti, Group Stage, Gold Cup

In the night’s second game the United States were somewhat fortunate to escape with all three points against Honduras.


Their Central American opponents matched them in terms of ability and chances for long periods of the game, with the US lucky to capitalize on two pieces of shocking Honduran defending for their two goals.


The first came after 25 minutes when a series of rebounds and deflections from a corner eventually saw the ball fall kindly for Clint Dempsey, with the same player adding a second from a Michael Bradley free kick in the second half.


The two goal lead didn’t last long, as Carlos Discua pulled one back in the 69th minute, but despite late Honduran pressure the US held on for the win.


Klinsmann used his post-match interview to acknowledge his side badly needed to improve. “It's going to be a journey in which we hope we're going to improve from match to match - there will be moments of little struggle”, he said. “Hopefully from game to game we get more in a flow, more in a rhythm.”


He’ll certainly need more rhythm quickly. Jozy Altidore looked way off the pace in attack, and both Yedlin and Chandler looked short of form and confidence.


Wednesday sees the opening games in Group B, with Costa Rica vs Jamaica at 8pm EDT and El Salvador vs Canada at 10:30pm EDT. Next up for the US is Haiti on Friday night, with Honduras facing Panama.

 
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