Andy Edwards

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Gold Cup: Costa Rica hammers Nicaragua; Haiti’s comeback

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action at the 2019 Gold Cup in Costa Rica…

[ WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: USA, Sweden advance ahead of Group F finale ]

Costa Rica 4-0 Nicaragua

In the first-ever Gold Cup game played on soil outside the United States, Mexico or Canada, Costa Rica made the most of a newfound home-field advantage, to the tune of a 4-0 victory over Nicaragua as the two sides began Group B play.

Bryan Oviedo put the home side on the board with what turned out to be the winner after just seven minutes, but Celso Borges’ thunderous strike stole the headlines, for very obvious reasons.

Somehow, Borges was upstaged by a slick piece of combination play, featuring a no-look back-heel pass (Bryan Ruiz) and a curling finish (Elias Aguilar) into the upper-90.

[ COPA AMERICA: Lodeiro’s golazo paces Uruguay; Qatar, Paraguay draw ]

Haiti 2-1 Bermuda

Haiti fell 1-0 behind, then erased that deficit and went 2-1 ahead of, Bermuda all in the space of 21 minutes. Dante Leverock scored Bermuda’s first-ever Gold Cup in the second minute of first-half stoppage time, soaring above the crowd and heading home from a corner kick.

Set pieces giveth, and set pieces taketh. Haiti drew level nine minutes into the second half, courtesy of Frantzdy Pierrot’s header from a dangerous free kick. Pierrot poked home a wide open rebound to bag his second of the game in the 66th minute.

Monday’s Gold Cup schedule

Curacao v. El Salvador — 7 p.m. ET
Jamaica v. Honduras — 9:30 p.m. ET

USWNT’s response to celebration critics? Troll them all

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PARIS (AP) Carli Lloyd had just scored on an 18-yard volley to put the United States ahead 11 minutes in against Chile. After leaping, pumping a fist and hugging teammate Lindsey Horan, she raised both hands chin high and made four tiny pitter-patter claps, the type seen more frequently at Pebble Beach than Parc des Princes (WATCH HERE).

A message? You bet.

[ WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: USA, Sweden advance ahead of Group F finale ]

Easy wins and lots of goals are par for the course when it comes to the U.S. women’s soccer team.

“I can’t take credit for it. I’m not sure if Lindsey is taking credit for it,” Lloyd said after a 3-0 victory Sunday night advanced the U.S. to the round of 16. “She had told me if we score, that’s what we’re going to do so I just went along with it after I did my little celebration But it was fun. I think it made a statement on the sideline there. It was cool.”

A record-setting 13-0 rout of Thailand that opened the tournament for the Americans sparked a debate back home. Celebration had not been discussed this much since Kool & the Gang. Some cried poor sportsmanship. Others argued players shouldn’t be asked to let up on soccer’s biggest stage.

[ COPA AMERICA: Lodeiro’s golazo paces Uruguay; Qatar, Paraguay draw ]

All the harrumphing was heard across the Atlantic.

“I guess we could have just passed it around the back for a million times, but that’s boring. That’s disrespectful to everyone: fans, ourselves” said 33-year-old Megan Rapinoe, the pink-haired veteran famous for running to a corner flag and screaming “Born in the USA” into a television microphone after goal against Colombia in the 2011 World Cup.

“The only thing you ask of an athlete really is to put it all out there and do the best you can. It’s not in our DNA ever.”

Coach Jill Ellis speculated Lloyd’s inspiration was her spouse, professional golfer Brian Hollins.

“I’m guessing it was a shout-out to her husband,” Ellis said.

Horan said Emily Sonnett, a 25-year-old defender at her first World Cup, suggested responses. Trolling critics was the goal.

“We decided to do something different today,” Horan said with an impish smile. “Handshakes were part of it. Golf clap was part of it.”

Copa America: Lodeiro’s golazo paces Uruguay; Qatar, Paraguay draw (video)

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action at the 2019 Copa America in Brazil…

[ WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: USA, Sweden advance ahead of Group F finale ]

Uruguay 4-0 Ecuador

Nicolas Lodeiro, in the company of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, completed Uruguay’s attacking trio to kick off La Celeste‘s Copa America quest on Sunday, and the Seattle Sounders star made the most of Oscar Tabarez’s faith by not only opening the scoring with a true golazo, but also by creating Uruguay’s second and third goals.

It was also Lodeiro who suffered the elbow to the face that saw Jose Quinteros sent off, and Ecuador reduced to 10 men, (following a lengthy video review) in the 24th minute.

Nine minutes after the red card, Cavani hit a side-volley to smash home two touches after Lodeiro headed the ball back into the box, bringing his tally of international goals to 47. 11 minute after that, Suarez poked home a second ball from Lodeiro’s corner kick to notch his record-extending 57th goal for Uruguay.

The rout was complete following Arturo Mina’s own goal in the 78th minute.

[ MORE: Copa America organizers worried about empty seats in Brazil ]

Paraguay 2-2 Qatar

Qatar, one of two guest nations (along with Japan) at the Copa America, fell 2-0 behind Paraguay before storming back to rescue a 2-2 draw and begin their first-ever Copa campaign with a point.

In truth, Qatar was the better side and would have never trailed by two goals if not for the early heroics of Paraguay goalkeeper Gatito Fernandez.

Paraguay went ahead after just four minutes, due to Pedro Miguel’s handball and Oscar Cardozo converting the ensuing penalty kick. Derlis Gonzalez made it 2-0 in the 56th minute, and advantage which held for all of 12 minutes before Almoez Ali halved Qatar’s deficit with a stunning strike in the 68th minute.

Juan Rodrigo Rojas was responsible for the equalizer — an own goal — just nine minutes later.

Monday’s Copa America schedule

Japan v. Chile — 7 p.m. ET

Follow Live: Costa Rica meets Nicaragua in Ticos’ Gold Cup opener

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Costa Rica is set to become just the fourth competing nation to experience a home-field advantage in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, when the Ticos kick off their opening fixture against Nicaragua on Sunday (8:30 p.m. ET).

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores ]

After the United States was the exclusive host nation for six of the last seven Gold Cups, two more nations — Costa Rica and Jamaica — are set to enjoy one game on home soil before coming to the U.S. for the remainder of the 2019 tournament.

Sunday’s game will be played in San Jose, Costa Rica — the second-ever Gold Cup game played outside the U.S., Mexico or Canada, following the day’s opener between Haiti and Bermuda, also at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica.

Sunday’s Gold Cup results (thus far)

Haiti 2-1 Bermuda

Copa America organizers worried about empty seats in Brazil

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) The head of South America’s soccer governing body is worried about empty seats at the Copa America tournament in Brazil.

[ WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: USA, Sweden advance ahead of Group F finale ]

But CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez said Sunday he believes the attendances will improve as the tournament advances.

More than 46,000 fans paid an average of $125 per ticket at Brazil’s opener against Bolivia, but at least 22,000 seats were empty at the Morumbi Stadium for a match that organizers initially said was a sellout.

[ MORE: Juventus, Chelsea announce Maurizio Sarri agreement ]

Sunday’s 2-2 draw between Qatar and Paraguay saw 20,000 fans at the 87,000-seater Maracana.

“It worries us, of course it worries us,” Dominguez said after a CONMEBOL event in Rio de Janeiro, adding “I think it will improve.”