Martinique took control of Group B of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup with an opening night 2-0 win over Nicaragua in the nightcap at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Earlier in the day, the United States and Panama tied 1-1 in the other group match.
Former Seattle Sounders forward Kevin Parsemain opened the scoring when he headed in a cross from Johan Audel off a short corner in the 35th minute. Nicaragua goalkeeper Justo Lorente kept the score close, but in the end Martinique was able to extend its lead. Seconds after coming on, Steeven Langil went on a solo run from midfield and finished from close range to effectively put the game away.
- 35' – MTQ – Kevin Parsemain WATCH
- 66' – MTQ – Steeven Langil WATCH
- CONCACAF Man of the Match: Kevin Parsemain (Martinique)
Martinique (4-3-3, left to right): #23 Kevin Olimpa – #8 Jordy Delem, #3 Antoine Jean-Baptiste, #5 Karl Vitulin, #21 Sebestian Cretinoir – #20 Stephane Abaul, #18 Jean-Emmanuel Nedra (#10 Steeven Langil, 65'), #19 Daniel Herelle – #17 Kevin Parsemain, #11 Johan Audel (#13 Christof Lougon, 77'), #12 Joann Arquin (#9 Anthony Angely, 89')
Nicaragua (4-4-2, left to right): #1 Justo Lorente – #3 Manuel Rosas, #6 Luis Fernando Copete, #5 Erick Jose Tellez Fonseca, #2 Josue Quijano – #16 Elvis Pinel Figueroa (#13 Bryan Garcia, 58'), #8 Marlon Lopez, #15 Bismark Montiel (#17 Bismarck Veliz, 87'), #10 Luis Galeano – #7 Carlos Alberto Chavarria Rodriguez, #21 Jorge Garcia Hurtado (#14 Eulises Pavon, 46')
- FROM THE ONSET: A 2-0 scoreline is hardly convincing, but the game was Martinique's to be won from the opening whistle. By the 10th minute, Martinique had already forced Nicaragua goalkeeper Justo Lorente to make three fantastic saves, and had two other shots go wide by inches. Five player combined for 19 shots - led Man of the Match, Kevin Parsemain, who besides his goal had two free kicks tipped over the crossbar by Lorente. All that said, Nicaragua put up a valiant effort.
- CINDERELLA CALLING: For many, the United States and Panama are favorites to advance out of the group. However Martinique showed that they are no pushovers, and with three points are in good position early on. The top two teams from each group advance to the Quarterfinals, and so do the top two third place teams.
- HELP ON THE WAY: Nicaragua has it's work cut out for them with matches against Panama and the United States coming up. But they'll be gaining a player, as Juan Barrera - the first Nicaraguan player to play in Europe - returns from suspension. Barrera opened eyes in March when he scored three goals in the final 8 minutes to help Nicaragua defeat Haiti and qualify for the Gold Cup.
- NCA: Wednesday, Jul. 12 – vs. Panama (6:30 pm ET | FS1, UDN, TSN2 in Canada)
- MTQ: Wednesday, Jul. 12 – vs. United States (9:00 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, UDN, TSN2 in Canada)