GOLD CUP: Jamaica book passage to Quarterfinals while Honduras routs Grenada

A night after Mexico clinched their spot in the knockout stage Jamaica parlayed a Friday night victory into a spot joining El Tri in the quarterfinals.

Jamaica overcame Guatemala’s physical and disruptive style and took advantage of being up a man to dispatch the Central American nation 2-0 in the night’s opening match. Honduras finished the night notching the most lopsided victory of the Gold Cup – and that’s saying something – scoring seven unanswered goals against Grenada to put them in control for second place in group B.

Jamaica employs speed against Guatemala

In similar fashion to their opening round win over Grenada, Jamaica used their considerable speed to overcome a feisty Guatemalan squad. New York’s Dane Richards was his usual pesky self making run after run down the right flank. While Richards was a trouble maker, Demar Phillips was the star for the Reggae Boyz notching both goals in the knockout stage berth clinching win.

Phillips latched onto Keammar Daley’s through ball in the 65th minute and struck for the opening goal of the match. 12 minutes later Phillips converted a Richards assist for the game clincher and sent the Jamaicans to the next round in the regional championship.

Jamaica benefitted from being up a man for the final 17 plus minute after Cristian Noriega received his second yellow of the match for bringing down Richards from behind. It was the Guatemalan’s third ejection of the tournament and will rule Noriega out of their final group match against Grenada.

Honduras explodes to move a step closer to knockout stage

For 25 minutes it looked like the unthinkable could happen and Honduras could be in trouble of not qualifying for the knockout round. Then reality set in and the Catrachos went on a seven goal barrage to put them in pole position for finishing second in the group and eliminated Grenada from the tournament.

Led by Carlo Costly’s hat trick and Jerry Bengston’s brace, Honduras poured on the assault crushing the Spice Boyz and giving the team undeniable momentum heading into a showdown for first place with Jamaica Monday night.

After starting slow in the match Clive Murray’s 19th minute goal seemed to stir Honduras out of their sleep. Honduras then put on the gas and committed numbers forward. Grenada’s inability to break up the Honduran attack was their ultimate downfall and the Catratchos never let up.

Friday’s results sets up a showdown between Honduras and Jamaica for first place in group B. The winner will face the second place team from group C – likely Canada or Panama – and the loser will have to face either Costa Rica or Mexico in the first round.

Guatemala will play eliminated Grenada with a spot as one of the third place qualifiers on the line. Second place seems out of reach with the Guatemala’s -2 goal differential and Honduras’ +6, however, that differential is better than El Salvador’s (-5) meaning a strong showing will put Guatemala through to the next round.

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for and contributes to during the Gold Cup. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.

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