Costa Rica opens Gold Cup with win
Costa Rica opened Group B play of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Seattle, beating Canada 1-0. Jafet Soto scored the game's lone goal on a penalty kick after Canada was called for a handball in the box in the 30th minute.
San Jose Earthquakes forward Dwayne De Rosario played a full 90 for Canada, while Los Angeles Galaxy defender Michael Umaña did the same for Costa Rica. Chivas USA defender Douglas Sequeira entered the match for Costa Rica in the 85th minute.
Canada and Costa Rica traded chances in an even first half. Costa Rica had a flurry of chances in the 10th minute, hammering the Canadian net, but goalie Greg Sutton made several key saves. Canada created several opportunities, getting behind the Costa Rican defense, but was unable to score.
Costa Rica was able to open the scoring in the 30th minute after Canadian defender Patrice Bernier was called for a handball in the penalty box. Jafet Soto stepped up and successfully converted the penalty kick, powering a shot past goalie Greg Sutton.
Canada, who won the Gold Cup in 2000, had their best chance of the first half in the 44th minute. De Rosario got behind the Costa Rican defense, but his shot from the edge of the penalty box sailed high and wide. De Rosario pressured the Costa Rican defense on several instances, but was unable to beat goalie Jose Francisco Porras.
The Costa Ricans nearly scored a second goal early in the second half when Dany Fonseca flicked a free kick with a diving header in front of the net, but his shot hit the cross bar.
Canada, despite playing a man down after captain Kevin McKenna was sent off with his second yellow, had several chances towards the end of the game to equalize, but was denied by Porras. Jim Brennan had the best opportunity to volley in a goal in stoppage time, but his shot trickled wide.
The Costa Ricans, who are still alive in CONCACAF qualifying for World Cup 2006 in Germany, earned three points with the win.
Gold Cup Group B action will resume at Qwest Field in Seattle on Saturday, July 9th, when Costa Rica will play Cuba at 11:30 am PT and Canada will face the United States at 1:30 pm PT.
Miller Lite Man of the Match: Jafet Soto, Costa Rica
CRC - Jafet Soto (PK), 30'
Canada - Greg Sutton, Adam Braz, Kevin McKenna, Patrice Bernier, Ali Gerba ( 7-Hume, 70th), Jim Brennan, Sandro Grande (17-Peters, 90th), Atiba Hutchinson, Dwayne De Rosario, Josh Simpson, Patrick Leduc (8-Serioux, 83rd)
Costa Rica - Roy Miller, Michael Umana, Dany Fonseca, Jose Luis Lopez, Bryan Ruiz, Jafet Soto (7-Rojas, 76th), Christian Bolanos, Victor Cordero, Harold Wallace (14-Segura, 56th), Steven Bryce (20-Sequeira, 85th), Jose Francisco Porras
CAN - Atiba Hutchinson, 28'
CAN - Kevin McKenna, 30'
CAN - Ali Gerba, 53'
CRC - Geiner Segura, 57'
CRC - Bryan Ruiz, 63'
CAN - Jim Brennan, 66'
CAN - Kevin McKenna, 81' (2nd yellow, ejected)
CAN - Patrice Bernier, 90'
Referee: Peter Prendergast (JAM)
Referee's Assistants: Anthony Garwood (JAM), Joseph Taylor (TRI)
4th Official: Neal Brizan (TRI)
Attendance: 15, 831