History was made on Saturday night in Houston, with Haiti qualifying for a Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal for the first time in its history after rallying from a two-goal deficit to defeat Canada 3-2 in the quarterfinals.

It made for a very emotional post-game setting for Haiti at the final whistle.

“To be honest, I cried. I was crying and then I got jumped on. It just feels amazing, I could not be happier than this,” said Haiti MF Steeven Saba to Concacaf.com following the match.

“We were down 2-0, we hung in there just like in the group stages. In the second half, we had to put it all out there, take risks and we got what we wanted. We got the win and we could not be happier.”

The victory also set off scenes of joy and celebration back home in the streets of Haiti.

For Saba and his teammates, to deliver this win and leave a smile on the face of every Haitian is a memory they will always cherish.

“To be honest, it’s incredible. It means the world to us because I know what’s going on down there in Haiti. I got really emotional after the game because that’s how much it means to us, to the entire team,” said Saba.

Next up for Haiti is a semifinal date with seven-time Gold Cup champions with Mexico on Tuesday in Phoenix.

While Les Grenadiers greatly respect El Tricolor and all that it has accomplished in the region, Haiti will go into that contest ready to battle like always.

“We’re fighters, we’re all warriors. Coming from Haiti, we’re always fighting and we are going to keep fighting. I respect everyone in this group, I love everyone in this group, we’re all a family and we could not be happier. 

“I respect Mexico, but I’ll say that we are not afraid of anyone. We’re fighters and where we come from that’s what we do,” concluded Saba.

Guillermo Ochoa made the decisive save to earn Mexico a 5-4 penalty shootout win over Costa Rica following a 1-1 draw in their 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal on Saturday night at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

With El Tricolor leading 5-4 in the shootout, the veteran stopper dived to his right to save Keysher Fuller’s attempt, sending Mexico to the Gold Cup semifinals.

It was not until the 44’ that Mexico had a good look at goal and Raul Jimenez did not waste the chance, as he collected a Rodolfo Pizarro pass and finished past Costa Rica GK Leonel Moreira for a 1-0 lead.

The Ticos looked to strike right back at the beginning of the second stanza and after a foul on Joel Campbell in the area, Bryan Ruiz coolly converted the spot kick to bring Costa Rica level 1-1.

Things stood on a knife’s edge entering the final half-hour and Mexico looked set to take a late lead, only for Carlos Rodriguez to hit the crossbar in the 86’.

In extra time, the Ticos had the best chance through Jonathan McDonald, but Ochoa was alert and made the save.

Things had to be settled in penalty kicks, and ultimately Mexico emerged victorious, as Carlos Salcedo converted the fifth and final penalty before Ochoa’s save on Fuller.

Gerardo Martino criticised the absence of VAR from the Gold Cup after a "bad" refereeing performance almost cost Mexico in their nervy quarter-final win over Costa Rica.

El Tri squeezed into the final four thanks in large part to goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who made a brilliant save deep into extra time and crucially denied Keysher Fuller in the subsequent penalty shoot-out.

The favourites might have avoided the fright had Panamanian match official John Pitti not awarded Costa Rica a second-half spot-kick for a seemingly fair Luis Rodriguez challenge on Joel Campbell that appeared to occur outside the box.

Bryan Ruiz converted to cancel out Raul Jimenez's opener and the additional 30 minutes proved costly for Mexico as head coach Martino was shown a yellow card for remonstrating with the fourth official, his second of the tournament prompting a touchline ban for the semi-final date with unheralded Haiti.

"The refereeing was bad," Martino said.

"It's impossible, with the technology that exists today and with VAR in Mexico and with VAR in the United States, that this tournament be played without VAR.

"I'm out of the next game and this referee could officiate the final of the tournament.

"I don't think it's fair that a referee from Panama, who [are still in the tournament], leads this game."

Mexico are now two wins away from reclaiming the Gold Cup crown they conceded to the United States four years ago and Martino is confident his squad will be fresh enough for the clash with Haiti, who came from two goals down to knock out Canada.

"I'm very happy with what we have done," the Argentine said.

"The medical team told me there are issues with cramps due to the 120 minutes the players had to run.

"We have three days until the semi-final with a trip in between, but I think it will be possible to play on Wednesday without problem."

Mexico stayed alive at the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Costa Rica in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

Raul Jimenez's first-half goal had put Gerardo Martino's side ahead at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

However, Bryan Ruiz's controversial second-half penalty drew Costa Rica level and a shoot-out followed despite chances for both sides.

Guillermo Ochoa made a brilliant save late in extra time and again in the shoot-out, denying Keysher Fuller to claim a 5-4 success.

Despite a lively start by both teams, there were few chances at either end until Costa Rica threatened just after the half-hour mark.

Celso Borges stepped up to curl a 25-yard free-kick just wide, before the midfielder later hit the post, although the move was flagged offside anyway.

Instead, Mexico took the lead just before half-time through Jimenez.

Jimenez's initial strike after a Rodolfo Pizarro cross from the left was blocked, but he produced a composed finish from inside the area to make it 1-0.

Costa Rica found a way back into the game early in the second half after a controversial penalty decision.

Luis Rodriguez was ruled to have brought down Joel Campbell, who was about to shoot, although replays showed he got the ball and any contact appeared to occur just outside the area.

Still, Ruiz made the most of the chance from the penalty spot, converting to bring Costa Rica level.

That seemed to bring Mexico back to life as Jimenez forced a fine save from Leonel Moreira before also shooting wide in the 62nd minute.

In what was an end-to-end finish to the 90 minutes, Mexico almost found a winner through substitute Carlos Rodriguez, who hit the crossbar from close range.

The chances continued in extra time, the best falling for Jonathan McDonald, whose powerful low strike was well saved by Ochoa in the 108th minute.

Jimenez had a penalty saved to begin the shoot-out but Mexico recovered, Randall Leal missing the target before Ochoa superbly denied Fuller.

 

What does it mean? Mexico find a way, but only just

It looked like Martino's perfect record at the helm was coming to an end as Mexico fell behind in the shoot-out. However, after seven wins from as many games under Martino heading into their meeting with Costa Rica, Mexico found a way again.

Ochoa steps up at key moment

Mexico only got to penalties thanks to Ochoa, who did well to deny McDonald in extra time. The goalkeeper then delivered the key save in the shoot-out, diving to his right to deny Fuller.

Martino mistake for Mexico

They edged into the semi-finals, but Mexico will need to find a way without Martino in the last four. The coach picked up his second yellow card of the tournament during extra time and is suspended.

What's next?

Mexico will face surprise semi-finalists Haiti on Tuesday, while Costa Rica look ahead to a friendly against Uruguay in September.

Haiti stunned Canada 3-2 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-finals in a huge upset in Houston on Saturday.

The minnows looked set for an expected defeat when they fell 2-0 behind inside 30 minutes at NRG Stadium.

Jonathan David's powerful finish and Lucas Cavallini's goal had Canada, who finished second to Mexico in Group A, on track.

But Haiti remarkably turned the game around in the second half to reach their first CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final.

Duckens Nazon dispossessed Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan to pull a goal back before Herve Bazile converted a 70th-minute penalty.

The turnaround was complete when Wilde-Donald Guerrier got on the end of a beautiful Nazon pass to put Haiti ahead six minutes later, sealing an incredible win.

Haiti will face either Mexico or Costa Rica in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

Long-time rivals Mexico and Costa Rica are set to clash in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals on Saturday night at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

The contest marks the eighth meeting between the two teams in a Gold Cup, with Mexico leading the series with five wins and two draws.

Buoyed by FWs Raul Jimenez (3 goals) and Uriel Antuna (4), plus MF Andres Guardado (2), Mexico rolls into the knockout stage having posted its first perfect group stage record in a Gold Cup since 2011 with wins over Cuba, Canada and Martinique in Group A, in which El Tricolor scored 13 goals and conceded just three.

Costa Rica is no stranger to Mexico in the Gold Cup quarterfinals, as the two faced off four years ago in the 2015 edition, with Mexico winning 1-0 in the final minute of extra time courtesy of a Guardado penalty conversion.

Costa Rica will look for a different ending after a second-place finish in Group B with a 2W-0D-1L record.

Six different players have scored for the Ticos, with Elias Aguilar leading the way with two goals.

With so much history between the two sides, another Concacaf classic will surely be on the docket.

The first of the four 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals will kick off when Haiti takes on Canada on Saturday evening at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. 

Trinidad and Tobago coach Dennis Lawrence remained upbeat after his team’s exit from the CONCACAF Gold Cup despite coming out of the tournament without a win. 

Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago played to a 1-1 draw at Children’s Mercy Park on Wednesday night in a Caribbean derby in Kansas City in which Guyana picked up a historical first ever point in a Gold Cup. 

Jozy Altidore's second-half goal saw the United States overcome Panama 1-0 to complete a perfect group-stage campaign at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Altidore's overhead kick in the 66th minute gave USA a third win from as many games in Group D, securing top spot and a quarter-final clash against Curacao.

USA made 11 changes to their starting line-up and it showed, but Altidore – having squandered two great chances earlier – stepped up to secure three points in Kansas City.

While they were unconvincing, Gregg Berhalter's USA did enough to complete the perfect group-stage campaign.

USA made a lively start as they pushed for an opening goal and it almost came through Altidore in the 16th minute.

After Panama turned over possession, Jordan Morris played in Altidore, but the striker pulled his shot wide from an angle from inside the area.

Altidore squandered another chance five minutes later, the striker putting a tame shot straight at Panama goalkeeper Jose Calderon after a Cristian Roldan cutback.

Jonathan Lewis was denied by an excellent Fidel Escobar block, while Jose Fajardo fired wide for Panama on the counter-attack six minutes before half-time.

Both teams struggled to begin the second half, leading to the introduction of USA star Christian Pulisic just after the hour-mark.

The opener followed for USA after a corner as Altidore scored his 42nd international goal.

The set-piece went uncleared and some poor defending from Panama led to Altidore producing an overhead kick from close range to make it 1-0.

That was all USA needed, closing out a narrow victory as neither side created much of note in the closing stages.

 

What does it mean? Job done for USA

USA simply needed to avoid defeat to secure top spot and the easier quarter-final clash, avoiding Jamaica. Berhalter's side got the job done despite what was an unconvincing display.

Changes could hurt USA

USA were beginning to find rhythm in wins over Guyana (4-0) and Trinidad and Tobago (6-0). Still, Berhalter opted to rest what is seemingly his preferred team and it remains to be seen whether that was the right decision.

Altidore goal not enough

The Toronto striker scored, but he also missed two chances in the first half. That is unlikely to be enough to earn him a start ahead of Gyasi Zardes, who has three goals at the tournament.

What's next?

Both teams will play in Philadelphia on Sunday. USA take on Curacao, while Panama face Jamaica.

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz qualified for the quarterfinal of the Gold Cup after topping Group C but some have been less than impressed with his play.

After earning its first-ever CONCACAF Gold Cup win, Curacao has its sights set on adding to its story as it faces Jamaica for a spot in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at Banc of California Stadium.

Curacao controls its destiny and needs only a win to assure itself a spot in the next round. A draw would have its players hoping for a Honduras win in the second match of the evening.

Not wanting to depend on outside results, Head Coach Remko Bicentini knows what his players must accomplish.

“We must win, we must score a goal. We cannot, the whole game, play in defence,” said the Curacao Manager in a pre-match press conference.

“We must score one more goal than Jamaica and we are through to the next round.”

Bicentini counts on a squad with 18 of his 23-man roster based in European leagues at the club level – the most of any squad in this year’s Gold Cup.

Forward Elson Hooi is one of eleven players who practice their club careers in the Netherlands. He scored his first two international goals against Jamaica in the 2017 Caribbean Cup final.

“For myself, the national team is more important than my own team so it means a lot,” said Hooi in Monday’s presser. “Our players are very happy. We worked so hard for this. Now we just stay together and work hard to win the third game.”

The two teams also met in Curacao’s first Gold Cup appearance two years ago, a tournament Bicentini continuously points to as a learning experience.

On Tuesday, the two Caribbean nations meet once more with high stakes on the line.

“The whole team from Jamaica is very powerful,” said Bicentini. “We learned from our first Gold Cup in 2017 and that was our preparation for this tournament.”

Mexico survived a brief scare to complete a perfect group-stage campaign at the CONCACAF Gold Cup by beating Martinique 3-2 on Sunday.

Uriel Antuna's first-half goal had Mexico ahead and in control at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

However, they suddenly found themselves staring at a shock draw when Kevin Parsemain scored a wonderful free-kick for Martinique early in the second half.

But Mexico steadied, making it three wins from three in Group A thanks to goals from Raul Jimenez and Fernando Navarro and despite a late header from Jordy Delem for Martinique.

Mexico, who made six changes to the starting XI that overcame Canada, started brightly.

They created their first real chance in the 17th minute, Andres Guardado unable to hit the target at the back post after Jimenez did well to get a cross in from the right side of the area.

But Mexico would open the scoring just before the half-hour mark with Antuna's fourth of the tournament.

Antuna picked up a Guardado pass before running at the Martinique defence, squeezing a left-footed shot through a defender's legs and inside the post.

Jimenez went closest to doubling Mexico's lead in the first half, the striker's spectacular effort from range sensationally tipped onto the crossbar by Martinique goalkeeper Loic Chauvet.

But Martinique incredibly equalised through Parsemain in the 56th minute.

The forward stepped up and curled a wonderful free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards to bring his team level.

However, Mexico responded quickly through Jimenez, who tapped in a Rodolfo Pizarro cross from the left to restore his side's lead.

Guardado almost extended Mexico's advantage in the 65th minute, only for his 25-yard free-kick to hit the crossbar.

Another goal followed through Navarro's first international strike, finishing neatly in a one-on-one after a pass from Jimenez.

Martinique continued to push, however, and pulled a goal back through Delem, who headed in a Daniel Herelle cross, but they were unable to find an equaliser.

 

What does it mean? Mexico's winning run continues

Despite being unexpectedly pushed, Mexico extended their winning streak under Martino to seven matches. They go into the knockout stage with some confidence and eyeing an eighth Gold Cup crown.

Antuna takes his chance

Antuna was only a late addition to the Mexico squad for the tournament, but he has taken his chance. The LA Galaxy attacker was again lively and added to his hat-trick against Cuba.

Martinique making progress

Martinique showed they can be competitive at Gold Cup level. They were thrashed 9-0 by Mexico in 1993 and beaten 3-1 six years ago, but were threatening and even caused something of a scare.

What's next?

Mexico will face the runners-up of Group B – either Costa Rica or Haiti – in a quarter-final on Saturday, while Martinique look ahead to the CONCACAF Nations League later this year.

Defending champions the United States advanced to the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-finals after routing Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 in Group D on Saturday.

USA infamously lost to Trinidad and Tobago in 2017 as they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup but Gregg Berhalter's men exacted some revenge against the Soca Warriors in Cleveland.

Aaron Long headed home a 41st-minute opener before a five-goal second half, with Gyasi Zardes' quick-fire brace, and Christian Pulisic, Paul Arriola and the former leading to the USA to back-to-back wins following their 4-0 demolition of Guyana.

USA started the match with pace and purpose, but they were unable to create any real clear-cut chances in the first 30 minutes.

But after Khaleem Hyland's warning shot for Trinidad and Tobago on the counter, Zardes' header across the six-yard box almost picked out Arriola.

In control for much of an end-to-end opening half, New York Red Bulls defender Long did break the deadlock four minutes prior to the interval after being picked out by Pulisic's teasing cross.

USA pushed forward and peppered the Trinidad and Tobago goal without success, while their opponents managed to keep Zack Steffen relatively busy in a high-octane second half.

After Marvin Phillip produced a stunning save to thwart Arriola from point-blank range, Zardes popped up to all but extinguish Trinidad and Tobago's hopes in the 66th minute when he finished a simple tap in from Nick Lima's cushioned header.

Zardes was at it again three minutes later after curling home his second thanks to Pulisic, who drifted past two defenders and slid in his team-mates, and the Columbus Crew forward nearly had his hat-trick but was denied by the woodwork and Philipp.

Trinidad and Tobago capitulated during the closing stages as Morris teed up Pulisic and Arriola to put an exclamation mark on the result, while Long added a sixth at the death.

 

What does it mean? USA into quarters

The United States' title defence is firmly on track. With 10 goals in two games and back-to-back clean sheets, a second successive Gold Cup trophy does not look out of reach.

Chelsea-bound Pulisic dazzles

Pulisic showed by Chelsea splashed the cash to prise him away from Borussia Dortmund. The 20-year-old attacker was lively throughout, scoring a goal and setting up two others.

Soca Warriors lose their way

Trinidad and Tobago went toe-to-toe with USA up until the hour mark. After that point, they were put to the sword by a merciless opponent, who could have won by more.

What's next?

USA close out their group-stage campaign against Panama in Kansas City on Wednesday, while Trinidad and Tobago face Guyana on the same day.

Panama became the first team from Group D of the CONCACAF Gold Cup to make it to the quarterfinals after two goals in each half gave them a 4-2 win over Guyana at the FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. 

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