Trinidad and Tobago 3-1 Guatemala: First-half barrage powers Soca Warriors in Gold Cup opener

1 Comment

It may have taken five games, but the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup has seen its first rout of the tournament, as Trinidad and Tobago rode three first-half goals to a 3-1 victory over Guatemala in both nations’ Group C opener at Soldier Field Thursday night.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Gold Cup coverage ]

Sheldon Bateau and a pair of MLSers, Cordell Cato and Joevin Jones, bagged T & T’s three goals inside the first 25 minutes to give the Soca Warriors all the cushion they would need to surge into the top spot in Group C ahead of Mexico’s curtain raiser against Cuba later on Thursday.

Bateau, who plays his club ball for Belgian side KV Mechelen, got on the end of Khaleem Hyland’s corner kick and made the simple, wide-open redirect past goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez to give T&T a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute

Cato, who plays for the San Jose Earthquakes, doubled the lead just four minutes later, when he pounced on a sloppy bit of defending and a failed clearance by Guatemala. The 22-year-old picked up the ball just outside Guatemala’s penalty area, raced into the box, rounded Jerez and slotted the ball into an open net.

[ MORE: USA 2-1 Honduras | Three things | Player ratings | Slow start for USMNT ]

Jones, who is in his first season with the Chicago Fire, gave T & T a three-goal advantage just 10 minutes later, when he hammered a loose ball into the back of the net from just left of the penalty spot. It was Jones’ through ball that put Cato in on goal before Jerez swept up the initial chance, but the 23-year-old continued his run into the box and finished yet another open-netter.

Guatemala pulled a goal back through Carlos Ruiz’s upper-90 finish from 12 yards out in the 62nd minute, but a comeback wasn’t in the cards for Los Chapines, who now find themselves with an extremely uphill path out of Group C.

With the three points in hand and Cuba up next, T&T find themselves in great position to secure advancement to the quarterfinals with a game to spare. A couple of points dropped by Mexico in either of their two games before meeting T & T in the Group C finale, and a draw against El Tri might just win the group for T & T.