El Salvador became the first team to punch its ticket to the knockout stage on the power of a 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in CONCACAF Gold Cup action on Wednesday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
El Salvador entered as the only Group A team with a victory in its opening match, having beaten Guatemala 2-0 on Sunday. The victors became the sixth El Salvador squad ever to reach the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup.
Jairo Henriquez opened the scoring in the 30th minute by receiving a pass just outside the 18-yard box, spinning into a low shot just past diving Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup (six saves).
Trinidad and Tobago entered having earned a coveted point off a stunning 0-0 draw against Mexico in its opener, featuring an all-defensive approach and possessing the ball for only 18 percent of the match. The first-half goal allowed Wednesday forced them to push the action more in the second half, resulting in challenges for both keepers.
El Salvador finally got an insurance goal in the 90th minute after a diving save by Frenderup caromed the ball off the post before rolling along the goal line to the opposite post. In the scramble, Walmer Martinez finally chipped the ball into the open net to make it 2-0.
El Salvador won the possession battle, 59 to 41 percent, and outshot Trinidad and Tobago 19-9. Mario Gonzalez finished with two saves for El Salvador.
Both teams play their final group-stage matches on Sunday, with El Salvador taking on pre-tournament group favorite Mexico in Dallas. With a win or draw, El Salvador would win the group.
Trinidad and Tobago will take on Guatemala in Frisco.