Gold Cup: Group B Update
USA’s Kellyn Acosta (white jersey) and Jonathan dos Santos of Mexico look for the ball during their World Cup qualifier on June 11, 2017, in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo: Adid Jimenez/Straffon Images)

MIAMI – With the start of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup slightly more than two weeks away, takes a look at the current status of the teams in Group B.

Martinique will host Curacao in a 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup semifinal on Thursday at the Stade Pierre-Aliker in Fort-de-France.  Through the third round, Les Matinino is a perfect 6-0-0, scoring 17 goals and conceding only two. Top-scorer Steeven Langil (4 goals) and long-time star Kevin Parsemain (2) are on the roster, as is Sporting Gijon defender Jean-Sylvain Babin, who made 20 appearances in the Spanish La Liga during the 2016/17 season.

Nicaragua has played three friendlies in June, posting a 0W-1D-2L record.  It suffered a pair of narrow losses to Bolivia (June 2: 0-1 home loss, June 7: 2-3 away loss) and then battled fellow Gold Cup qualifier Curacao to a stalemate (June 17: 0-0 away draw).  Jorge Garcia and Carlos Chavarria accounted for the Pinoleros’ goals.

In its bid to secure a first-ever FIFA World Cup berth, Panama played to a pair of draws in the final round of qualifying earlier in the month.  The Canaleros held second-place Costa Rica to a scoreless away draw on June 8 and then rallied twice at home to knot visiting Honduras, 2-2, five days later.  Against the Catrachos, Panama (1-4-1, 7) fell behind 1-0 and 2-1, but goals by Blas Perez (41’) and Roman Torres (90’) saved the day.  Four draws in six games have the Panamanians sitting in fourth place, one behind the United States, which it will face in the Gold Cup on July 8.

The United States’ resurgence in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup under head coach Bruce Arena, who replaced Jurgen Klinsmann last November, continued with two impressive results earlier in the month.  On June 8, the Americans earned a 2-0 win over visiting Trinidad & Tobago thanks to a Christian Pulisic (52’, 62’) brace.  Just three days later, Michael Bradley (6’) scored early as the third-place U.S. (2-2-2, 8) drew 1-1 at first-place Mexico.  Arena is unbeaten in his second spell with the side (3-4-0).