Despite the fact that, for the first time in the competition’s history, two Caribbean teams, Haiti and Jamaica, were in the final four of the Gold Cup, no players from those nations managed to find their way into a Best XI. 

Mexico's journey to the Gold Cup final has been fuelled by "screaming, encouraging" supporters whose numbers have surprised the players, according to technical director Jorge Theiler.

It took a Raul Jimenez penalty in extra-time to clinch Mexico's place in the final at Haiti's expense, and Theiler – in control of the team in the absence of suspended coach Gerardo Martino – said the Wolves striker was indebted to El Tri's fans for driving him on.

Mexico will face either the United States or Jamaica in the final in Chicago on Sunday, and Theiler said Martino will demand another high-intensity performance from his players.

"The people of Mexico in all stadiums is admirable. We draw attention because the amount of people who fill the stadiums and the fervour they give to the games," Theiler told reporters.

"This gives the players extra incentive; Raul seemed tired for a moment, but he reinvented himself and was still running at the end and that is what the fans who are supporting, screaming and encouraging want us to do.

"It has been a nice surprise, and it does not happen in all parts of the world - it happens in the United States and Mexico."

Jimenez's goal was the 15th in five Gold Cup matches for Mexico, who have seen off the challenge of Cuba, Canada, Martinique and Costa Rica as well as Haiti.

Martino will take the reins in Sunday's final, where Mexico hope to lift the Gold Cup for a record 11th time but will first have to overcome either holders USA or 2017 runners-up Jamaica.

"From here to Sunday's game there will be a lot of rest," said Theiler.

"We have five days to limit the amount of wear and tear that comes with training, so there will be many videos, talks and correcting the things we have done wrong today and strengthening all the good things we did.

"The intention is for the boys to arrive well for Sunday's final. The intensity of the matches is great, because Gerardo Martino's style is constant pressure and attack and that is why the players are worn out.

"The objective is to arrive in good condition on Sunday, so that the team can perform at their best."

Mexico needed a contentious penalty from Raul Jimenez to edge past Haiti 1-0 after extra time in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-finals.

With suspended coach Gerardo Martino watching on from the stands at State Farm Stadium, Mexico were frustrated by the minnows on Tuesday.

They were unable to create much of note through 90 minutes, but found a breakthrough early in extra time through a Jimenez penalty.

After a soft spot-kick was awarded, Jimenez stepped up to send 10-time champions Mexico into the decider.

Mexico struggled to create clear-cut chances throughout the first half as Haiti defended desperately.

Roberto Alvarado fired a decent opportunity wide in the 10th minute before Jimenez put an effort over the crossbar from close range.

Haiti were well-organised and frustrated Mexico, who struggled to put shots on target in the opening 45 minutes.

Jesus Gallardo and Jonathan dos Santos missed the target with efforts, while Jimenez forced a relatively comfortable save from Johny Placide with a 35th-minute header.

Haiti also had their moments, threatening early in the second half as Frantzdy Pierrot fired wide on the turn in the 49th minute.

Andres Guardado was the next to threaten for Mexico, his curling 20-yard free-kick tipped over by Placide, whose last-ditch tackle later denied substitute Uriel Antuna.

Forced to extra time, Mexico finally found their breakthrough in somewhat controversial fashion through Jimenez.

The forward went down in the area under the slightest contact, before stepping up to convert from the penalty spot.

Haiti's brave effort went to the end as they almost stunningly equalised in the 119th minute, Mikael Cantave's 20-yard strike hitting the crossbar with Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa beaten, while Luis Montes missed an open goal at the other end.

 

What does it mean? Mexico's struggles continue

Martino's men looked in fine form leading into the tournament and again to open the Gold Cup. However, they have battled to wins over Martinique, Costa Rica and Haiti in recent matches.

Jimenez delivering for Mexico

The forward was the most threatening for Mexico and won and converted the match-winning penalty for his fifth goal of the tournament. Jimenez has now scored in three straight games for Mexico.

Haiti almost cause a shock

This was quite the performance by Haiti. The minnows, who stunned Canada in the quarter-finals, sat relatively deep and frustrated Mexico for long periods, only to be undone by the extra-time penalty.

What's next?

Mexico will face either the United States or Jamaica in the final in Chicago on Sunday, while Haiti look ahead to the CONCACAF Nations League starting in September.

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.

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.

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. 

Haiti’s attack was flying from the very beginning, paving the way for a 2-0 win over Nicaragua in 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Group B action on Thursday evening at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Playing in the Texas heat, it only took two minutes to showcase a defined style of play for both Nicaragua and Haiti, as Nicaragua’s Byron Bonilla attempted a right-footed shot from outside the box that was blocked by Haiti MF Bryan Alceus.

While several opportunities were being created by Nicaragua, Haiti began to take advantage via the counterattack and in the 21’ Steeven Saba was able to open the scoring for Haiti with a right-footed strike that went straight into the middle of the Nicaragua net.

A few minutes later in the 34’, the lead was doubled when Derrick Etienne had a shot deflect off of Manuel Rosas for an own goal.

Nicaragua continued to create chances with Bonilla in the middle of things, only for his shot to go off target.

Haiti’s defense firmed things up the rest of the way and sealed the three points to earn its second clean sheet win over Haiti in less than a year.

Haiti head coach Marc Collat is looking to seal the deal for the team’s quarterfinal berth in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, as it faces Nicaragua on Thursday at the Toyota Stadium.

Collat wants his team to set a fast pace from the very beginning.

“We have a lot of respect for Nicaragua, we know the quality that their team has, and we know the game will not be an easy one,” mentioned Collat.

For MF Wilde-Donald Guerrier, Thursday’s affair is one that can only have one end result: a victory.

“We have a very hard situation in Haiti right now, so the people are waiting for a positive result from us,” said Guerrier. “In any way possible, we have to do it because of them, if we win tomorrow it’s going to bring a lot of joy to the country because the country needs it right now.”

Guerrier, who scored a goal that helped give Haiti a 3-1 victory against Nicaragua in a 2017 Gold Cup Qualifier knows that the pressure is on both teams.

“The pressure is shared equally between both teams,” mentioned Guerrier. “We have the pressure to hopefully win and qualify but I also know that Nicaragua comes with the pressure to not to be out of the tournament. Then the pressure seems in both directions. Now we are going to do our best to ensure the classification and to be able to reach the third most comfortable match.”

A brace from Frantzdy Pierrot allowed Haiti to showcase experience with a 2-1 win over Bermuda on Sunday evening at the Estadio Nacional of Costa Rica to open Group B of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.

After both teams had a 50-50 ball possession for the first half, Bermuda responded with a total of two shots on target before the breaking the deadlock at the end of the first half. One minute was added when Dante Leverock found the back of the net with a header which was assisted by Osagi Bascome in the 45+1’.

Haiti looked to mount a comeback as the second half started with a very fast pace, which is when Pierrot waited for his chance, burying a shot in the 54’ with a header from the right side of the six-yard box allowing Haiti to tie the match.

Twelve minutes later Frantzdy was back at it in the 66’ with a right-footed shot that went straight to the center of the goal.

The historical night in Costa Rica was then capped by the Haiti defense finishing the match to pocket Les Grenadiers’ first three points of the Gold Cup.

Haiti and Concacaf Gold Cup debutant Bermuda will kick off the very first Gold Cup match ever played in Costa Rica.

The opening match of the Group B doubleheader will take place at Estadio Nacional in San Jose on Sunday night and will star a lot of young talent.

Both Haiti and Bermuda have the youngest rosters of the 2019 Gold Cup with an approximate age group of 24 years and five months. For Haiti, who will be participating in its seventh Gold Cup match, its attack has experienced FW Duckens Nazon, who is one of the top goal scorers in the 2018-19 Concacaf Nations League Qualifier with six goals in just two games.

Nazon, who is expected to play its fifth Gold Cup, is the only player on Haiti’s roster to score goals in a Gold Cup, however Derrick Etienne Jr. will also be one to watch in the Haiti attack.

Meanwhile, Bermuda can rely on a strong DF Willie Clemons, who will be key for the debutants.

Clemons led Bermuda in ball recoveries in 2018-19 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, with five. Even though Bermuda will be making its first appearance of the tournament against Haiti, it is known for its fighting spirit until the very last minute. The Bermudians enjoyed an impressive CNLQ campaign as they ended with a record of 3W-0D-1L, including a 12-0 victory over Sint Maarten.

Now, the stage is set for the first all-time meeting between Haiti and Bermuda in the Gold Cup.

Chile scored two goals in as many minutes to overcome minnows Haiti 2-1 in their pre-Copa America friendly on Thursday.

Quick-fire goals from Eduardo Vargas and Jose Fuenzalida in the second half spared Chile's blushes before La Roja fly out to Brazil to begin their title defence.

Playing their final warm-up match before the country's Copa America opener against guests Japan on June 17, Chile dominated but trailed at half-time.

CONCACAF Gold Cup participants Haiti – who were invited to take part in the Centenario edition in 2016 – silenced the crowd in La Serena when Frantzdy Pierrot outmuscled two opponents and poked the ball past Brayan Cortes in the 26th minute.

Arturo Vidal and Vargas threatened for Chile in the absence of Manchester United star Alexis Sanchez but the hosts were unable to find the back of the net.

Chile continued to push forward and after numerous opportunities, the two-time reigning South American champions equalised via Vargas with 21 minutes remaining.

And fans barely finished celebrating Chile's leveller when Fuenzalida bundled home the eventual winner after Vargas' initial shot was blocked.

 

Haiti’s history-making Olympic swimmer Naomy Grand’ Pierre is leading a campaign to raise US$150,000 to fund teams to the CCCAN for the next two years, the World Championships in South Korea in July, and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Canada, on Thursday, booked their spot in the quarterfinal of the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship with a 4-0 win over Curacao and in so doing, ending all Caribbean interest in the competition. 

Haitian sprinter Bryand Rincher seemed to expect even more on debut for Florida State University (FSU), despite breaking the Haitian national 60m record at the Orange and Purple Elite meet on Friday.

Rincher, who was making his college debut, stopped the clock in a time of 6.60 seconds, which was good enough for second behind North Carolina States University’s Cravont Charleston who clocked 6.59 for first spot.  Rincher’s teammate Kasaun James was given an identical time for third spot.  The time puts the athlete’s third in the early season NCAA rankings.

The mark lowered the national record previously held by Virginia Tech’s Darrell Wesh who set the time of 6.62 in 2016 at the Virginia Tech Challenge. 

Rincher came close to breaking the record in the heats clocking 6.64 to win heat one, good enough to take over the NCAA lead.  The former Piper High athlete, was, however, far from entirely pleased with the performance.

“I had very high expectations for myself, but that didn’t really go as I planned. I had to play catch-up [in the final] because my block start was horrible" Rincher said.

 

Haiti and Costa Rica kept their perfect records intact with wins on Saturday in Group E at the 2018 Concacaf Under-20 Championship. 

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