CONCACAF Gold Cup: El Salvador tops Jamaica, Mexico struggles past Curaçao

The Gold Cup group stage finished as many people expected it would, but not before some dramatic twists in the plot.

Jamaica 1, El Salvador 1

15′: Nelson Bonilla became the first player in this Gold Cup to score on Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.

65′: For almost an hour, it looked like Blake would be coming back to Philadelphia, as Jamaica was set to finish third in its group. But a handball in the box by El Salvador’s Narciso Orellana gave the Reggae Boyz a break, and Darren Mattocks of the Portland Timbers took advantage:

Mexico 2, Curaçao 0

22′: Ángel Sepúlveda opened the scoring in spectacular fashion:

90 +1′: It took all the way until second-half stoppage time for El Tri to finally put the game away with this goal by Edson Álvarez:

In between the two goals, Curaçao put an almighty scare into Mexico – and had the 44,232 fans in attendance in a foul mood. Here’s a sampling of what the Caribbean underdogs were able to do:

The final Group C standings are:

  1. Mexico, 7 points
  2. Jamaica, 5 points
  3. El Salvador, 4 points
  4. Curaçao, 0 points

It was a bit disappointing to see Jamaica not go for a winning goal. To be fair, they might have decided they’d rather finish second in the group and play Canada in the quarterfinals, instead of facing Honduras by finishing first. But consider this: Had Jamaica won 2-1 and Mexico won 1-0, the two teams would have finished dead even in the standings. Both teams would have had seven points, a +3 goal difference, four goals scored and a tie against each other. The first-place winner would have been determined by a drawing of lots.

Even better: Had El Salvador held on for the 1-0 win and Mexico lost 1-0, there would have been a Jamaica-Mexico tie in second place. Which means El Tri was impressively close to finishing third and coming to Philadelphia to play the United States.

Alas, the chalk prevailed. Here are the quarterfinal matchups we’ve actually got:

Wednesday, July 19

At Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.

6 p.m.: 1A. Panama vs. 2B. Costa Rica (Fox Sports 1, UniMás, Univision Deportes, TSN1/4, RDS2)
9 p.m.: 1B. United States vs. 3C. El Salvador (Fox Sports 1, UniMás, Univision Deportes, TSN4, RDS2)

Click here for news on the United States’ roster moves ahead of the knockout rounds.

Thursday, July 20

At University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

7:30 p.m.: 2A. Canada vs. 2C. Jamaica (Fox Sports 1, Univision, Univision Deportes, TSN1/4, RDS2)
10:30 p.m.: 1C. Mexico vs. 3A. Honduras (Fox Sports 1, Univision, Univision Deportes, TSN2, RDS2)

Click here for the full tournament schedule, including details on television and online streaming broadcasts.