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2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Group A, round 1 round-up: winning starts for Canada and Costa Rica

Positive start to the tournament for Canada and Costa Rica in Group A.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup kicked off Friday night with a pair of games from Group A at Red Bull Arena. In the first game of the night, Canada faced off against French Guiana, the later game saw Central American rivals Costa Rica and Honduras resume their ongoing battle for regional soccer supremacy.

Canada 4-2 French Guiana

Canada took control of the game in the first half with two goals. First Dejan Jakovic scored off a set-piece, colliding with the ball more than directing it into the net. Scott Arfield scored the second at the tail end of the first off, as Canada ended on a high note. Arfield cut in from the right wing and placed a shot to the near post that was mishandled by keeper Donovan Leon.

Teenager Alphonso Davies added on one more for Canada at the beginning of the second half. Davies took off at about midfield and used his speed to coast past the defender before placing it between Leon’s legs.

Down three, French Guiana put up a fight, rallying back with two quick goals by Roy Contout and Sloan Privat.

Davies struck again with five minutes left in regulation time to seal the game for Canada.

Costa Rica 1-0 Honduras

The two heavyweights of Group A also put on a show for the crowd in New Jersey. Both teams play similar formations that rely heavily on attacking wing backs on the ends of a five-man backline. Honduras is led by former Costa Rica head coach Jorge Luis Pinto.

Honduras looked the more dangerous  of the two sides early on. Los Catrachos used the speed of Romell Quioto and Ovidio Lanza to trouble the Tico defense. Carlos Sanchez also looked very dangerous for Honduras bombing down the left flank throughout the half.

Minnesota United’s Johan Venegas went down in the first half for the Ticos and was replaced by Joel Campbell.

Honduras could not capitalize on their chances and Costa Rica took advantage of this, finishing their first clear opportunity of the half to score the opening goal of the game. Rodney Wallace got on the end of a through ball and played a cross into Marco Urena who put the ball into the goal.

In the second half, star Alberth Elis entered the game for Honduras, as Pinto’s squad continued to cause trouble with their speed.

Honduras had many more chances on the night but were not able to capitalize.

The next round of Group A play will see Costa Rica face off against Canada and French Guiana and Honduras play in Houston on July 11.