Honduras gave Costa Rica just about all they could handle on Friday in the countries' 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup opener, but the Catrachos could not find a result as Costa Rica won 1-0 at Red Bull Arena.
Honduras had long stretches where they dominated play, but Costa Rica went ahead just before halftime, courtesy of Marco Urena, with the San Jose Earthquakes striker turning in a cross provided by New York City FC man Rodney Wallace.
- 39' – CRC – Marco Urena (WATCH)
- CONCACAF Man of the Match: Marco Urena
Honduras (5-2-3, left to right): #1 Luis Lopez – #23 Carlos Sanchez (62' #10 Alexander Lopez), #5 Ever Alvarado, #3 Maynor Figueroa, #4 Henry Figueroa, #2 Felix Crisanto – #6 Bryan Acosta, #8 Alfredo Mejia – #12 Romell Quioto, #16 Ovidio Lanza (46' #17 Alberth Elis), #7 Carlos Discua (56' #14 Oscar Boniek Garcia)
Costa Rica (5-2-3, left to right): #18 Patrick Pemberton – #15 Francisco Calvo, #5 Kenner Gutierrez, #2 Johnny Acosta, #3 Giancarlo Gonzalez, #16 Cristian Gamboa – #20 David Guzman, #10 Bryan Ruiz – #13 Rodney Wallace (71' #17 Yeltsin Tejeda), #21 Marco Urena (82' #7 David Ramirez), #11 Johan Venegas (35' #12 Joel Campbell)
- TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: Costa Rica entered Group A play as the prohibitive favorites in the group and a dark horse candidate to perhaps even win the Gold Cup tournament. It must be said, they were second-best in terms of play for much of the game, but they also scored the game's only goal, rather against the run of play, and did what they needed to get the result. With what could turn out to be their toughest group stage game out of the way, the Ticos can now regroup and aim to play their way into good form against Canada and French Guiana.
- SO CLOSE: Honduras had their looks on the night, and a combination of wasting quality chances and key saves by Costa Rica goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton meant their performance was not ultimately rewarded. Both Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis, teammates on the Houston Dynamo, had gilt-edged chances to either open the scoring or tie it up, but they'll be left to rue what could have been. Now, they'll have to get results in their last two group games to have a chance of reaching the knockout rounds.
- VENEGAS GOES DOWN: Surely Minnesota United are nervous at this point, since their midfielder Johan Venegas was forced out of the game in the 35th minute due to an injury. The problem and its severity is unknown at this point, but the Loons and Ticos alike are probably hoping it turns out to be a minor issue.
- HON: Tuesday, Jul. 11 – vs. French Guiana (10 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, UDN, TSN1/5 in Canada)
- CRC: Tuesday, Jul. 11 – vs. Canada (7:30 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, UDN, TSN1/3/4/5 in Canada)