Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
HARRISON, N.J.– The Gold Cup may be missing some marquee names, but it’s certainly not missing any drama.
Rodolfo Zelaya scored goals on either side of halftime, leading El Salvador to a short-lived lead before Trinidad and Tobago equalized through the left foot of Kenwyne Jones, as both nations settled for a 2-2 draw on Monday night at Red Bull Arena.
A very pro-El Salvador crowd watched as the muscle and height of Trinidad and Tobago went to work. The Soca Warriors only needed 11 minutes to get on the board, with Philadelphia Union midfielder Keon Daniel finding a whole in the defense, and scoring one-on-one with El Salvador goalkeeper Dagoberto Portillo.
In the 22nd minute, a free kick from 26 yards out gave Zelaya a chance to show off his skill set. The 25-year-old made no mistake, curling a beautiful free kick past Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams to tie the match, eliciting a roar of approval from the nearly sold-out arena.
El Salvador was controlling the match heading into the half, and they had a chance on goal just seconds into the second half, as a shot from Zelaya rolled just wide. Both nations traded chances until the 69th minute. A barnstorming run on the right wing Darwin Delgado opened up space in the middle, and a cross into the box found the head of Zelaya for his second of the match, giving La Selecta a crucial lead.
Agustin Castillo’s team couldn’t keep the lead though, as just four minutes later, the Sunderland forward Jones aptly controlled a long ball, racing in on goal and finishing with his left foot to level the scoreline at 2-2.
El Salvador came the closest to finding a winner, as Zelaya nearly scored his hat-trick on an audacious scissor kick inside the box in the 89th minute, only for the goalkeeper Williams to make a tremendous save to push the shot over the bar.
The next match day takes place at Sun Life Stadium on Friday, with Trinidad and Tobago facing Haiti and El Salvador meeting Honduras.
Here are the match highlights: