Group A of the 2007 Gold Cup could be the most competitive of all the groups based on tonight’s action. The weather here in south Florida didn’t help the playing conditions, but all four teams played up to their potential. Canada who I think is now has the third best team in the region showed a remarkable ability to attack against a Costa Rican team that has made the last two World Cups. Canada put six shots on target and just missed the target with three others in a 2 to 1 victory. Canada’s attack led by Dwayne DeRossario, one of the best players in MLS, Julian DeGuzman the first Canadian to play in LaLiga and Paul Stalteri who scored Spurs winning goal in the epic 4-3 win over West Ham earlier this year was in high gear for most of the match despite the pouring rain. This match should be a wakeup call to the fans of the United States and Mexico who think advancing to the finals in this tournament will be a cakewalk. Nations like Canada, El Salvador, Panama and others in the region take this competition very seriously because for most of them it is the biggest the tournament they play in.

That was also obvious in the second match at the Orange Bowl tonight. Guadeloupe, as I mentioned in my post earlier today qualified for its first international competition by finishing 1st in its Gold Cup Qualifying Group, a truly remarkable achievement. Haiti itself had missed the past three Gold Cups, so the intensity was that of a do or die World Cup qualifier. Guadeloupe seemed to have the better of the play but they couldn’t finish in the final third and conceded a silly penalty to essentially gift Haiti a 1-1 draw. The draw was unfortunate for both sides as it is a blow for those of us that hoped one of the Carribean clubs would advance beyond the group stages in this year’s tournament. (Tomorrow I’ll tell you why Trinidad and Tobago, who played England to a standstill for 70 minutes in last year’s World Cup will not advance under any plausible circumstance.)