by GIANFRANCO PANIZO
Group A finished in dramatic fashion on Friday night as Canada and Costa Rica assured themselves of a place in the quarterfinals while Jamaica eliminated El Salvador.
In the first match of the double-header played at FIU Stadium in Miami, Fl., Canada and Costa Rica each scored two goals in a span of 12 minutes in the first half. Andy Herron brilliantly chipped Canadian goalkeeper Greg Sutton in the 22nd minute before Patrice Bernier leveled the score for Canada, scoring from close range just two minutes later.
Canada would take the lead in the 27th minute when midfielder Marcel De Jong hit a long-range shot that took a bounce before finding the back of the net. But Costa Rica leveled the score seven minutes after as Walter Centeno struck a picture-perfect free kick.
The game would end 2-2, with Canada winning the group on seven points and Costa Rica sitting in second with four.
In the second match, an Omar Cummings strike in the 69th minute was all Jamaica needed to eliminate an El Salvador side that had the majority of the crowd support.
"The way we played in the (first) two games didn't warrant us losing those two games," said Cummings. "We didn't really capitalize on our opportunities and I think that was the focal point of us going into the game tonight."
The Colorado Rapids forward's goal saw Jamaica climb to third place with three points while El Salvador, also three points, fell to fourth based on the head-to-head result with the Reggae Boyz.
Jamaica now has to stand by to wait and see if they will advance to the quarterfinals as one of the top two third-place finishers.
What did you think of Friday's matches in Miami? Think the Canada-Costa Rica match was one of the best so far in the tournament? Did you fall asleep during the Jamaica-El Salvador match? Which team would you rather want the U.S. playing?
Share your thoughts below.