Confidence boosted by win, Martinique looks to U.S.
Johan Audel (blue jersey) was outstanding in Martinique’s CONCACAF Gold Cup win over Nicaragua on July 7, 2017, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. (Photo: AFP)

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – After a 2-0 win over Nicaragua, Martinique ended Saturday atop Group B table in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Although that sounds pretty good to Johan Audel, the Beltar Jerusalem forward wasn’t ready to celebrate.  That’s because a Wednesday date in Tampa with the United States, which tied Panama 1-1, is on the horizon.

“It’s a very great feeling,” said Audel.  “I think we deserved it after tonight’s game, but now we have to focus on the next game.  We have three games to play and we want to show the best picture of Martinique in the U.S.”

Martinique won over some fans at Nissan Stadium with their free-flowing, attacking football that created numerous chances and two quality goals.

“Not many people know about Martinique, the French island, but now they see the real Martinique football players,” said Kevin Parsemain, who headed used to be on the books at Seattle Sounders FC and scored Martinique’s first goal against the Nicaraguans.  “Now everyone will follow us.”

That goal came off a cross from Audel, who also set up a massively important (and brilliant) insurance goal by Steeven Langil in the 66th minute. It was, perhaps, the greatest goal total for Martinique in its 24-year Gold Cup history

“We were very happy for that,” Audel remarked.  “It was a big relief because Nicaragua played pretty good football too.  They had a couple of chances too.  Yes, this goal was very, very important.  It helped us to gain some confidence.”

And now Martinique will bring that confidence into the ultimate showdown against the five-time Gold Cup champion USA.

“We’re looking forward to that,” finished Audel.  “I have a couple of friends on the team, so that’s going to be very great for everyone, for little Martinique to play against the big, big USA.  I think everybody is pretty excited about that.”