ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 05: Javier Hernandez #14 and Aldo De Nigris #9 of Mexico celerbrate a goal scored against El Salvador during the CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying match at Cowboys Stadium on June 5, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
The 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup kicked off with not just a singular bang but two very loud booms on Sunday. Costa Rica topped Cuba 5-0 in the first game and Mexico refused to be out done defeating El Salvador in their own 5-0 performance. Details on both of the games and what this means for Marco Pappa coming back to the Fire after the break.
Costa Rica's Marco Urena scored two goals for Costa Rica, one at the 7th minute mark and the other right after halftime in the 46th minute. Alvaro Saborio contributed a strike right before halftime (41'). Costa Ricans Heiner Mora (47') and 18 year-old Joel Campbell (71') each scored in the second half to complete the 5-0 beatdown of Cuba.'s
Mexico surprisingly went into halftime at a 0-0 tie with El Salvador but that didn't last for long. Efrain Juarez currently of Scottish giant Celtic opened the scoring for Mexico in the 56th minute quickly followed by Aldo de Nigris scoring in the 58th minute. Just two minutes later Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez scored but he wasn't done there. The Mexican superstar who is currently playing for Manchester United managed to pull of a hat trick with a goal in the 67th minute and a conversion of a penalty in the 5th minute of stoppage time.
The wins leave the Group A standings looking like this:
Group A teams will play again on Thursday, June 9th when Costa Rica plays El Salvador and Mexico plays Cuba. No doubt the front runners will come out gunning as they look to stay at the same pace in goal differential. If Costa Rica and Mexico both win on Thursday, each team will automatically advance to the Quarterfinals. The final games in Group A will take place right here in Chicago at Soldier Field on Sunday, June 12th. El Salvador will play Cuba and Mexico takes on Costa Rica. Even if both Mexico and Costa Rica have qualified to move on, the teams should be jostling for seeding as the top team in Group A plays the 3rd best team in Group B or Group C while the second best team in Group A plays the second best team in Group B in the next round.
The Gold Cup's Group B takes to the field tonight when Jamaica plays Grenada at 8:00 PM CST and Honduras takes on Marco Pappa's Guatemala at 10:00 PM CST.
Last night's 5-0 combo drubbings were bad news for Chicago Fire fans who want to see Marco Pappa back in Fire Red as soon as possible. The top two teams in each group move on to play in the Quarterfinals and the best two out of three 3rd place teams move on as well. With El Salvador and Cuba facing -5 goal differentials, it looks like all Guatemala will need to do to advance is tie Group A's 3rd place team and not get embarrassed in any of their games. As long as that happens Marco Pappa will miss June 18th's match against the New England Revolution. If you want to go conspiracy theorist you could point out that New England's Shalrie Joseph is skipping out on Grenada's call to have him on the roster which improves Guatemala's chances of moving on which means that Marco Pappa would be out for the Chicago vs. New England game on June 18th but that's a bit like exploring Paul Revere's true motivations for his famous midnight ride.
United States men's national team fans have to wait until Tuesday, June 7th to see their team take the field.
Panama vs. Guadeloupe kicks off at 5:00 PM CST and the big border battle of Canada vs. United States is at 7:00 PM CST. HTIOT will keep you up to date throughout the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup this month. We want to wish Guatemala well but we also wouldn't mind seeing Pappa in the mix for Frank Klopas' gameday selection.