HARRISON, New Jersey – Forward Marco Ureña scored as Costa Rica held off a determined Honduras side to open the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 1-0 on Friday night.
It was the Costa Ricans’ first-ever win over Honduras in five all-time meetings in the competition.
The Central American rivals played a high-paced game with an intensity usually reserved for a knockout-round match, before a capacity crowd of 25,817 at Red Bull Arena.
Costa Rica connected on a bang-bang play in the 39th minute to take a 1-0 lead. Defender Giancarlo Gonzalez sent a long ball down the left flank to Rodney Wallace, who delivered a perfect cross for Ureña to volley past goalkeeper Luis Lopez from five-yards out.
Romell Quioto was the Hondurans' most dangerous player in the opening half, forcing goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton to make a body save on his point-blank shot in the 10th minute.
Costa Rica head coach Oscar Ramirez was forced to use his first substitution earlier than planned when injured midfielder Johan Venegas was taken off on a stretcher in the 34th minute. Joel Campbell replaced him.
Halftime substitute Alberth Elis came close to equalizing in the 75th minute, but he blazed over the crossbar.
In the first game of the doubleheader, Canada bested French Guiana, 4-2.
Next Up on July 11: Costa Rica faces Canada, while Honduras meets French Guiana at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.