Gold Cup Day 1 Rewind: Panama beats Mexico, Martinique stuns Canada

GabrielTorresGoalPanama1-Mexico (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

It was a day for the ages, as the two underdogs snatched victory from the favorites in deserved fashion on the opening day of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The day at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena began with 37-year-old Fabrice Reuperne scoring a thunderbolt in the third minute of second-half stoppage-time to defeat Canada, 1-0, and the evening finished with Panama’s Gabriel Torres scoring twice to defeat tournament favorites Mexico, 2-1.

Missing their regulars after a long string of World Cup qualification and Confederations Cup matches, Mexico National Team head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre selected a domestically based side that ended up playing as uninspiring in the Southern California heat as the first team has done in Azteca Stadium in 2013.

Panama opened the scoring in the seventh minute, with Torres converting a penalty kick earned by teammate Alberto Quintero, who was taken down by Mexico’s Raul Jimenez.

Panama had never beaten ‘El Tri’ before, but the Canaleros took the game to Mexico from the start. Both Cecilio Waterman and Torres nearly added to the Panamanian lead when shots hit the post and went out of play.

Mexico’s Marco Fabian was the quickest to react, ranging to a long ball forward, using his chest to control, and all in one motion, finishing past Panama’s goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to level the scoreline in the 45th minute.

As the second half began, it was as though Mexico hadn’t scored the equalizer, as Torres once again pounced on an opportunity, flicking a ball neatly past Mexico goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco in the 47th minute to return the lead to Panama. El Tri continued to pump balls forward, but thanks to some last-ditch defending and some time-wasting tactics by Panama, they held on for the key win.

In the early match at the Rose Bowl, a young and inexperienced Canada side struggled against a Martinique side that is filled with amateurs from the starting lineup through the reserves, eventually falling, 1-0. Portland Timbers forward Fredric Piquionne started and lead the line against Canada, creating a number of chances that were well saved by the goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

Canada were afforded opportunities from set pieces, as forward Marcus Haber had a header saved in the 10th minute by Martinique goalkeeper Kevin Olimpa and defender David Edgar sent a hopeful header towards the back post, glancing the crossbar before going out of play.

Finally, as it looked like the teams would settle for a scoreless draw, Reuperne stepped up for Martinique, slamming a volley past Borjan for a goal in the 93rd minute, that came from a poorly cleared corner kick. It’s only the second time that Martinique has won a match in the Gold Cup, the first coming in 2002 against Trinidad and Tobago.

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What did you think of the opening day of matches? Which players/performances stood out to you?

Share your thoughts below.

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38 Responses to Gold Cup Day 1 Rewind: Panama beats Mexico, Martinique stuns Canada

  1. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    The past tense of lead is led, Dan.

  2. Mat says:

    Not sure why Canada losing is such a surprise. Their roster is very weak truth be told; Martinique even on paper arguably has better talent than Canada (e.g. Piquionne way ahead of anything Canada can offer).

    • Jay says:

      1 or 2 players don’t make a soccer team. Otherwise Honduras should have done much better when they had David Suazo. The majority of Martinique’s team either plays in the Martinique league or lower division French teams. Yes, Canada set in a B team like the US and Mexico but there is decent MLS talent, along with players that play on top division teams in Sweden, Germany and Turkey. Canada’s team while weaker than usual, still has more talent than Martinique.

      • Mat says:

        That’s why I said “arguably”. In my opinion, the talent is better on the Martinique side, with a couple of very good players above what Canada can offer, and the rest mostly on par. But that’s just my personal take on it. Which is why I’m not at all surprised Canada got outplayed and dominated.

        • Ryan says:

          Agreed, is an average TFC player really that much better than someone playing in the French third division, let alone guys with good experience in Europe like Piquionne and Arnolin? Canada’s strike force consisted of a League 1 player and a another guy on a mediocre Norwegian team, not exactly top talent. That’s why I’m not surprised that Martinique beat Canada.

  3. Don't care says:

    The mexican development system and Liga MX is so overrated.

    • Judging Amy says:

      Absolutely. Mex is so aggressive (one of the most abrasive soccer cultures in the world from press to players to fans) in the belief of their footballing brilliance that eventually others start to believe the hype. They are quite good but nowhere near as good as they think they are.

      Contrast their attitude with the US being better than most fans think they are.

      • Gary Page says:

        I think English fans tend to over rate their national team also. England will play well in qualifiers then fall flat in major tournaments. Remember, before the last WC a English paper called their draw EASY. Then in the UEFA U21 and the WC U20 the two English teams together got a total of 3 points from one win in the U20′s.

        • limey says:

          English press are not necessarily English fans, and BTW no fans overrate the team, they have been bad for a long time and everyone knows it.

          • Yet – all the clubs in the US continue to employ English coaches with inflated CVs to teach our players the game.

            • Dont Care says:

              All the clubs?? You must really be out of touch with US youth soccer. My whole life i never had one english coach nor saw any when i played in the academy and even high school. Ive had ex Argentine nationals, an ex Uraguay national team keeper , former Rowdies players, a couple of Italians but never any English coach. You look at all the Academies you wont find many English coaches. If anything im starting to see more and more young americans that played the game coming back and coaching at a high level

        • chupacabra says:

          Most European WC qualifying groups are a joke. England faces minnows like San Marino and Moldova, who shouldn’t even be in the group qualifying stage in the first place.

          FIFA needs to rearrange the European groupings. Almost every group has sacrificial lamb teams like Andorra, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Malta and San Marino that don’t have a chance and make the path to qualification for most other teams way too easy.

      • Rob Jones says:

        The US being better than most fans think they are? How so? The US hasn’t done anything.

    • bryan says:

      mexico is having problems, but im not sure i agree it’s “so” overrated. i DO think some Mexican fans, particularly Mexican-Americans who only support El Tri, think Liga MX and Mexican development is gold.

      it’s solid, and still better than US/MLS as a whole, and i think most in the sport rate it appropriately.

      • Dont Care says:

        Some? I think you mean most fans but im not just talking about the fans. I see it all the time with their players too. They come over thinking theyre so good then when my team would go up 3 goals they start throwin cheap shots because they cant stand that they’re getting undone by an American team.

        When i say overrated im talking about them developing mexican-americans as well. All these players run down there thinking turning pro in mexico will make them these great players when it really wont. The only one showing much promise is Corona and he played a year of college at San Diego state. There’s not one American player thats come through a mexican youth setup thats playing at a high level in europe. Not a single one and mexican teams have been scouting the US for 20 years. The fact that MLS teams are even able to compete with 100 year old mexican teams with a 6 million dollar salary cap shows how overrated they are

        • bryan says:

          outside the internet and Azteca, every single Mexican fan i have met, including some very close friends (they also root for USA though), seem to respect our team just fine.

          also, your argument is a little silly in the sense that you are only looking at Americans who have played in Liga MX and then moved to Mexico. Liga MX, as a whole, has had a fine reputation of sending players over to Europe. further, competing is one thing, winning is another. we need to be winning the CCL over Mexican teams on a regular basis..

          i’m not saying Mexican fans don’t overrate Liga MX whatsoever, i’m rejecting the implication that it’s vastly over rated and counter that you are slightly under evaluating Liga MX.

        • Rob Jones says:

          It’s painfully obvious you have a chip on your shoulder.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Chepo might be out after this tournament in which case a successor will take over and begin correcting his mistakes. In which case we’ll see where a better managed Mexico slots in.

      Mind you, I think Panama showed up with the A team while Mexico is going through the motions after weeks of serious games, but the sheer accumulation of bad results should catch up to Chepo just like Bradley last Gold Cup.

    • Joe A. says:

      Not sure I would go that far just because their national team has been struggling the past year. Beasley, Gomez, Corona and Castillo all play for Mexican sides.

  4. 1EyedJack says:

    I’m not clear on how Martinique, Guadeloupe, and perhaps other islands can compete in the Gold Cup despite not being in FIFA.

    • Frank says:

      It’s a CONCACAF competition that includes CONCACAF members…not sure how a country can be a part of CONCACAF but not FIFA though.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Some of the confederations have set it up where you have to be FIFA to gain new entry, which was a barrier to Gibraltar’s recent entry into UEFA.

        There are plenty of international quirks. Africa, Oceania, and UEFA (Gibraltar) also have countries not in FIFA. The UK “home nations” are not separate for UN purposes but have their own NTs. Puerto Rico is US territory, NT. When you look at the neat 10 teams in CONMEBOL remember that Suriname, French Guiana, and Guyana all are on South America but in CONCACAF; T&T is just off the coast but likewise in with us. Australia and NZ share a league but one is Asia the other is Oceania. Palestine isn’t even an official UN state but they have a team. etc etc.

        One quirk of the CONCACAF-only teams is I think you can play for France after Martinique — it’s a political subset of France — but to go back to Martinique you have to take 5 years off under the eligibility rules.

    • Rob says:

      FIFA and CONCACAF independent of each other, and a CONCACAF member nation need not be a FIFA member – though obviously most are.

      Wikipedia states that “As an overseas department of the French Republic, Martinique is not a member of FIFA and is therefore not eligible to enter the FIFA World Cup or any competition organized first-hand by the organization.”

      I believe the key point above is ‘first-hand’ – as FIFA itself doesn’t organize the Gold Cup, Martinique is eligible to play.

  5. Dennis says:

    Mexico lost, hard to not be happy about that!

    • Frank says:

      Yes, but it is hard to see how they are not going to make the next round…unless Canada steps up.

      • NC Jeff says:

        The Mexico vs. Canada game is in Seattle … IMO, the worst possible place in the USA for Mexico to have to play Canada. Being right by Vancouver, BC, if Canada doesn’t step up there, heads must roll w/in the Canadian team (it’s not like their MNT has any WCQ distractions).

  6. Al17 says:

    I think people see the Martinique win as an upset based more on ignorance of the team than anything else. The only upset in that group will involve Mexico. I didn’t expect Canada to win against Martinique, I would have expected a draw at best. Canada is the BIGGEST underachiever in our region. A team with a core of good players that just don’t get it done. Hopefully they’ll get it together in the near future.
    I expect Panama to win this group after yesterday’s performance.
    Wonder if we’ll see another Fight between Mexico and Canada this week….oops wrong sport (Baseball)…then again you never know
    ;O)

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think if they had a qualification reason to stay together and gel long term they’d be as good or better than the other island diaspora nations like Jamaica and T&T that likewise benefit from drawing on a pool of players who work back in the mother country.

  7. Matt says:

    Feel free to start a better site, Jason..

  8. Joe A. says:

    On another note the US facing Belize is kind of a joke…

    • Derek says:

      I wouldn’t go so far as saying it’s a joke. I do agree that it’s an unfortunate matchup for Belize having to face a US team that has been to the World Cup and is battle tested. Considering that this is the first ever appearance for Belize in the Gold Cup they will probably be nervous as all hell, but you never know. They may surprise themselves. Bad news for Belize is the two Group A upsets because if it wasn’t bad enough that they drew the US, now the US know what can happen if you take teams too lightly.

  9. bizzy says:

    Either Mexico’s B-Team is just not good enough or Panama just brought the heat……either way it’s a good sign for our chances in lifting the gold cup. Mexico, our only road block, has been exposed and any team going up against them knows there’s a good chance they can be defeated (with this team)…….this gold cup is going to be interesting.

    ———————-Donovan————————-Gomez————————–

    —Shea————-Diskerud—————-Holden—————Corona——–

    –Beasley———Onyewu—————-Goodson———Parkhurst———-

    ———————————–Rimando————————————————-

    THREAT CON BRAVO……a.k.a “MINNOW KILLERS”…….I know things change quickly in soccer but I strongly believe it’s going to be a blowout against Belize and Cuba……with Holden and Mix in the midfield a lot of teams in this competition are going to be in trouble.

  10. Brant says:

    So if Martinique were to win the Gold Cup, would they be eligible to play in the Confederations’ Cup? What happens if Martinique and France ever end up in the same tournament together?