Group play for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Group play for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Panama (0-0-1) vs. Nicaragua (0-1-0) Though Panama has never won the Gold Cup, it has gone to the final twice, falling to the United States in 2005 and 2013. Saturday, the Panamanians and Americans played to a 1-1 draw in their tournament opener at Nashville. Nicaragua is in just its second Gold Cup. It has lost every game it has played in the current version of the tournament, including a 2-0 defeat to Martinique on Saturday. Temperatures were in the upper 80s on Saturday, and Panama's players have taken time to recover, coach Hernan Dario Gomez said. With temperatures in the 90s forecast again for today, he said Tuesday he expected the team to respond well. "The weather affects both teams," he said via a translator. "In Panama we have a climate pretty similar to the one here, so for us there's no excuses." Nicaragua captain Juan Barrera sat out Saturday's game after receiving a red card in the team's Gold Cup qualifying win over Haiti. The wing scored a hat trick in the second leg of the playoff, and coach Henry Duarte is elated to have him back. "(Barrera) plays a huge role on this team," Duarte said via a translator. "The way he plays, he takes the team forward and gives the team a lot of confidence." United States (0-0-1) vs. Martinique (1-0-0) In the current iteration of the Gold Cup, the United States has won the tournament five times, second to Mexico's seven. Martinique is in its fifth Gold Cup. It has advanced to the semifinals once, in 2002. Martinique was physical throughout its win over Nicaragua on Saturday in Nashville, fouling 22 times and receiving four yellow cards. But American coach Bruce Arena said he wasn't concerned about the aggressive style of play. "Physicality's not an issue," he said. "We're used to that. All the players from either club play or international experience, it's nothing they haven't seen before." Martinique capitalized on Nicaragua's sloppy passing, and the American attack is likely to be more crisp. Though his team faces long odds, Martinique coach Jean-Marc Civault said he was optimistic it could respond against the United States. "We know that we're among the smallest teams in this tournament, but soccer in the past has shown us that there's no small teams," he said via a translator. "Once you get on the pitch, any team can beat the other."
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| 232 views | July, 11th, 2017

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