Jobi McAnuff

Gold Cup Today: Jamaica face Canada, Costa Rica vs. El Salvador — Day 5

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Day 5 of the Gold Cup is here as the action heads down to Houston for a massive double-header in Group B. All four teams are level after two draws in the opening matches, making every point that much more important tonight at BBVA Compass Stadium.

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Jamaica got a very solid result in the opening match of Group B play, battling to a 2-2 draw with group favorites Costa Rica. It was an up-and-down match for the Reggae Boyz, who took an early lead but then found themselves down 2-1 before the break. Despite finding an equalizer and earning the draw, Jamaica will look for more consistency when they take on Canada. In the nightcap, Los Ticos will look to prove they are a title contender with a statement win against El Salvador.

Below is a brief preview on what to expect from both matches, while you can follow the action live by clicking on the link above.

Game 9: Jamaica vs. Canada
When: Saturday, 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
Live updates: NBCSports.com

Garath McCleary and Jobi McAnuff both tallied for the Reggae Boyz in their opening match, as the former Reading teammates will look to find the scoresheet again tonight in Houston. After losing just 1-0 to both Argentina and Uruguay in the Copa America and earning another good result against Costa Rica, Jamaica is primed to make a run in the Gold Cup. They’ll look to take all three points against Canada, who are coming off of a disappointing 0-0 draw with El Salvador. The Canadians wasted some golden opportunities in front of net, and will have to be better if they want to advance out of the group.

Game 10: El Salvador vs. Costa Rica
When: Saturday, 9 p.m. ET
Where: BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
Live updates: NBCSports.com

Costa Rica may have dropped 27 spots in the latest FIFA rankings, but Los Ticos will be keen not to drop any points against El Salvador. They scored two quicks goals to take a lead against Jamaica, but failed to hold on and left California with just one point. Arsenal’s Joel Campbell has been linked with a loan move to Besiktas, but the striker must keep his focus on finding the back of the net for Costa Rica. El Salvador is the dark horse in Group B, but with all four teams level after the first matchday, another draw would keep their hopes of advancing alive.

Costa Rica 2-2 Jamaica: Reggae Boyz earn solid draw with Los Ticos

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Maybe Jamaica’s participation in the Copa America last month in Chile will pay off this month on the other side of the equator.

The Reggae Boyz opened their 2015 Gold Cup run with a solid result against world No. 14 Costa Rica, drawing 2-2 in Carson on Wednesday night.

Roy Miller and David Ramirez scored for Costa Rica, while Garath McCleary and Jobi McAnuff netted for Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz led 1-0 and trailed 2-1.

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Jamaica lost all three of its matches at the Copa America, as Winfried Schafer charges suffered 1-0 losses to Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina.

But they weren’t fazed by Costa Rica, scoring the first goal when Kemar Lawrence’s long throw bounded off the grass and over Junior Diaz, who mistimed the bounce. McCleary was in prime position to finish from close range, and Jamaica led 1-0 in the 13th minute

Los Ticos tied it up on crafty free kick play in the 33rd minute. Sending a ball in from the left, Bryan Ruiz played a low pass across the top of the 18, and Ramirez flicked it over the charging Jamaican defense for Miller to head home.

Costa Rica found a lead four minutes later. Celso Borges sent a long ball over the top of the Reggae Boyz’ defense, and Ramirez got in tight to put his first touch home.

Jamaica got a little bit of luck to help tie the score, as McAnuff’s out-of-control dribble paid off. McAnuff slapped his foot at an odd bounce, and it fooled Miller. His next touch was a fine finish, and it was 2-2.

It was Esteban Alvarado, not Keylor Navas, in goal for Costa Rica, and the 26-year-old AZ Alkmaar keeper made a strong low save to stop a cutting dribble into the 18 by Darren Mattocks.

Both teams looked capable of scoring a winner late, but neither found a way to take all three points. The 89th minute saw Alvarado explode off his line to deny a late Jamaican shot.

Jamaica next faces Canada on Saturday in Houston, while Costa Rica will play El Salvador.