El Salvador, Canada produce stalemate

El Salvador Alexander Larin (blue jersey) tries to hold off Samuel Piette during their CONCACAF Gold Cup match on July 8, 2015, in Carson, California. (Photo: Mexsport)

CARSON, California -- Canada and El Salvador produced a high-tempo encounter at the StubHub Center on Wednesday, but neither side could find the decisive goal as they played to a 0-0 draw in the CONCACAF Gold Cup opener for both.

The result left all four teams in Group B on a single point, following a 2-2 stalemate between Jamaica and Costa Rica earlier in the evening.

El Salvador, perhaps, would have felt more disappointed after generating the bulk of the chances, especially in an opening half-hour which saw it threaten Canada’s defense.

Irvin Herrera -- a tenth minute substitute for the injured Nelson Bonilla -- proved a handful, but neither he, nor his teammates could find the back of the net.

In a game that was contested box-to-box, Herrera came close to opening the scoring in the 25th minute, when he darted down the left and blasted a volley straight at the advancing goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopolous.

Two minutes later, the 23-year-old was in the box again, this time watching as Stamatopolous parried away his left-footed effort.

Canada, however, had the most clear-cut opportunity in the 36th minut. Orlando City’s Cyle Larin was set through on goal by a precise long ball out of the back. He rounded goalkeeper Derby Carrillo, only to blaze over the crossbar from eight-yards out with an open goal at his mercy.

Two minutes before the break, Canada again came close through Tosaint Ricketts, who eluded his marker and slipped into the box. The 27-year-old forward, though, rifled his attempt high.

Neither team let up in the second-half search for the elusive opening goal.

Captain Arturo Alvarez’s low drive in the 58th minute was easily handled by Stamatopolous and, a minute later, Spain-based midfielder Samuel Piette forced Carrillo to tip over from a powerful volley.

Canada, looking for its first Gold Cup win in five games, continued to compete.

Substitute Marcus Haber had a header denied from close range in the 77th minute and Ricketts watched as his scissors kick forced a finger-tip save out of Carrillo four minutes later.

Canada will next meet Jamaica in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, while El Salvador faces Costa Rica. Both games will be played at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.