Caribbean makes a Gold Cup impression
Action from the CONCACAF Gold Cup match between Caribbean rivals Cuba (white jersey) and Trinidad & Tobago on July 12, 2015, in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo: Mexsport)BALTIMORE, Maryland -- Regardless what transpires in the knockout round of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, history has been made.For the first time in the competition’s 24-year history, four Caribbean teams have qualified for the quarterfinals -- Trinidad & Tobago, Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti – with a combined record of 6W-3D-3L.Even more impressive, two sides – Caribbean champion Jamaica and runner-up Trinidad & Tobago -- won their respective groups.Plus, representation from the region in the semifinals is already assured for the first time since 2007, when Guadeloupe reached the final four. Jamaica and Haiti will meet in one quarterfinal at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday with the winner advancing to Atlanta."There's a message that there's a lot of talent in the Caribbean," Haiti striker Duckens Nazon expressed. "A lot of people have been taking Caribbean teams lightly. Now they're surprised. They never expected Haiti to finish in the top two behind the U.S. They didn't expect Cuba to make it. That means we have the potential."Teammate Pascal Millien said success has come from having a tougher mental edge."It's really gone up because the players don't take it lightly anymore," the Jacksonville Armada FC midfielder remarked. "We are tired of participating. We want to make it our own issue. We have a different mentality."Each of the Caribbean teams have distinguished themselves:* Trinidad finished unbeaten (2-1-0, 7 points) to top Group C. The Soca Warriors overcame a one-goal deficit after scoring an own goal in second-half stoppage time against Mexico on Wednesday, connecting for the equalizer a few minutes later to secure a 4-4 draw.* Jamaica (2-1-0, 7 points) earned the Group B title crown, playing 2014 FIFA World Cup quarterfinalist, to a 2-2 tie, and defeating Canada and El Salvador by 1-0 scorelines.* Haiti (1-1-1, 4 points) proved to be tough to overcome with a second-place finish in Group A. Les Grenadiers, who have surrendered only two goals, made life difficult for the defending champion United States in its 1-0 defeat.* Cuba (1-0-2, 3 points) waited until the 11th hour to book its knockout-round spot for the second consecutive tournament as Maykel Reyes tallied in the 73rd minute for the Leones del Caribe in its 1-0 Group C win over Guatemala.