Group B of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup got underway on July 8 with a doubleheader at Nashville's Nissan Stadium. The USA and Panama went first, in a match-up between the heavyweight teams in the group, followed by Martinique and Nicaragua.
USA 1-1 Panama
Not the start the USA was hoping for, and the draw with Panama is not really excused by the fact that USMNT is not at its strongest for this tournament. Los Canaleros are also using Gold Cup to look at the fringes of their player pool, and they will be a little happier with their opening-game performance than their opponent.
The USA started well, though the first half ended scoreless, and opened the scoring through Dom Dwyer in the 50th minute. But Panama responded positively to falling behind. Miguel Camargo pounced on a loose ball in the box to tie the game in the 60th minute.
Both sides are expected to advance to the quarterfinals, with the only question being which of them wins the group. On this showing, Panama is the livelier team - but the USA will expect to gel and strengthen as the tournament progresses.
Martinique 2-0 Nicaragua
These teams are perceived to be playing for third-place in Group B and a potential lucky-loser spot in the quarterfinals. That perception made this a must-win for both sides, and Martinique had the best of the game on the day.
Stalwart striker Kevin Parsemain opened the scoring in the 35th minute; substitute Steeven Langil added a second in the 65th. Nicaragua has a lot to do if it is to make it out of the group stage.
Group B returns to the field on July 12 in Tampa. Nicaragua will hope to get something from a game against Panama; Martinique will look to challenge USMNT.