Action from the CONCACAF Gold Cup game between Costa Rica (white jersey) and host Canada on July 14, 2015, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo: Mexsport)
TORONTO – Costa Rica (0-3-0, 3 points) advanced past the group stage in the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the ninth consecutive time thanks to a 0-0 draw with host Canada (0-2-1, 2 points) on Tuesday at BMO Field.
The result eliminated the Canadians from the competition, but confirmed that Panama – the third-place side in Group A – will advance as one of the two best third-place teams. Jamaica (2-1-0, 7 points) posted a 1-0 victory over El Salvador (0-2-1, 2 points) earlier in the evening to top the Group B quartet, while Costa Rica finished as runner-up. The Salvadorans can still capture the other third-place slot, but need Guatemala (0-1-1, 1 point) and Cuba (0-0-2, 0 points) to draw in a Group C match Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A rainy night greeted both teams in Canada’s first-ever Gold Cup game on home soil, but the action did not heat up until after the break.
In the 48th minute, Costa Rica’s Johan Venegas broke into the left side of the box and fired a left-footed shot that goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopoulos thwarted with one of the saves of the tournament.
The Central American champion kept plugging away in a bid to end its four-game Gold Cup winless streak. As part of that effort, in the 68th minute, David Guzman ripped a right-footed effort just wide of the left post.
Three minutes later, after racing into the right side of the Canadian box, Christian Gamboa blazed over the crossbar from six-yards out.
Canada hasn’t won a Gold Cup game since topping Guadeloupe 1-0 on June 11, 2011, but that nearly changed that in the 81st minute. Costa Rica goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado dropped a right-sided cross in the penalty area, allowing Andre Hainault to shoot unimpeded. The ball deflected off Bryan Ruiz on the goal line towards the left post, where teammate Roy Miller was perfectly positioned for a clearance.
With seven minutes remaining in normal time, Karl W. Ouimette produced Canada’s last opportunity, only to see his attempt from 20 yards sail high after some neat dribbling by Adam Straith.