Trinidad and Tobago’s 14-minute spree in the first half set up their 3-1 win over Guatemala to start their CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign in style.
Striker Cordell Cato and defenders Sheldon Bateau and Joevin Jones all scored their maiden international goals as Trinidad and Tobago broke the dam wall at Soldier Field in Chicago, with Stephen Hart’s men having come into the fixture without a goal in five internationals.
Trinidad and Tobago tallied nine shots – four on target – in the first half alone to Guatemala’s zero, as Ivan Sopegno’s defence suffered in the Group C opener.
Sopegno swung the changes at half-time, bringing on Minor Lopez and Carlos Mejia for Jonathan Marquez and Stefano Cincotta – with Lopez having an influence.
Carlos Ruiz scored a consolation goal in the 62nd minute, getting on the end of Lopez’s flicked-on header to lift a strike beyond goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams.
Guatemala had a groundswell of support at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, but their cheers were silenced early as Hart’s XI built a three-goal buffer in quick fashion.
Bateau side-footed home a volley from Khaleem Hyland’s corner that was earned by Joevin Jones’ winding run down the left wing.
After going 460 minutes without a goal, Trinidad and Tobago then made it two in three minutes.
Moises Hernandez’s headed pass to Elias Vasquez was intercepted by Cato.
Cato then rounded goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez – and unlike Canada’s Cyle Larin a day earlier – managed to tap home into an empty net.
It was 3-0 in the 26th minute – after Jones threaded a ball through for Cato, and while Jerez came off his line to smother the ball from Cato’s feet, the former followed through with a left-foot strike past two hapless Guatemala defenders on the goalline.
By this point, Guatemala’s resolve had been broken and their formline – not including their 1-0 aggregate win over Bermuda in World Cup qualifying – of 3-0, 5-1 and 4-0 losses was being underlined.
Kenwyne Jones should have made it four in the 36th minute, the UK-based number nine’s shot from close range blocked for a corner – from which, Ataullah Guerra could have scored as he was in on goal at the back post.
Guatemala striker Marco Pappa – back at the venue he previously called home from 2008-12 – earned his side a free-kick in the 48th minute in a dangerous area, but Ruiz curled the set-piece over the crossbar.
Three minutes later, Radanfah Abu Bakr was yellow-carded for a kick on substitute Lopez on the left corner of the penalty area – and Jose Contreras rolled the ball square for Pappa, whose shot just edged over the woodwork as Guatemala got closer.
Their dominance amounted to Ruiz’s goal back with little under half-an-hour to play, but Guatemala were unable to further reduce the deficit.
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