The opening game of a tournament can never, by definition, be a must-win game. But for both Canada and El Salvador, the Gold Cup opener presents a crucial opportunity to pick up three points and buoy their hopes of reaching the quarterfinals.
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MOMENTUM OR MIRAGE? Canada come into this game riding a four-game winning streak, something the team have not accomplished since 2009. But those wins came in two friendlies and two World Cup qualifiers against No. 168-ranked Dominica. Is this streak the sign of a real turnaround for head coach Benito Floro’s side or will the team crumple in the Gold Cup spotlight?
THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU
Nelson Bonilla, F, El Salvador. The 24-year-old is hardly a household name, playing his club soccer for Vitorul in Romania. But his dangerous poacher’s instincts have been on full display as of late, as he’s scored three goals in El Salvador’s last two games. He also, ahem, “earned” a penalty against St. Kitts and Nevis, another instinct of which Canadian defenders will need to be aware.