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Three Takeaways: 10-Man Martinique Upset El Salvador 2-1 in Group C Opener

Soccer: Concacaf Nations League-El Salvador at USA on March 27, 2023

ANALYSIS: Martinique kick off Group C in the Gold Cup with a big 2-1 upset of El Salvador Monday night. It kicked off rather quickly, Martinique raced out to a 2-0 lead inside the opening 16 minutes. Costly giveaways sprung Martinique, where Patrick Burner and Kevin Fortune slotted home past Tomas Romero. Despite dominating the stats department, La Selecta weren’t able to scrape a goal to halve the deficit going into the break.

In the second half, momentum shifted in La Selecta’s favor after Jonathan Rivierez’s tackle on Leonardo Menjivar’s ankle produced a straight red card. Furthermore, El Salvador were awarded a penalty in the 83rd minute, only for Yannis Clementia to deny Jairo Henriquez. El Salvador were given a second spot kick, Bryan Tamacas converted, but Martinique leave Florida with three precious points. Here are three takeaways from DRV PNK stadium.

Three Takeaways: 10-Man Martinique Upset El Salvador 2-1 in Group C Opener

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#1: Martinique Are Here to Make History of Their Own

Absolute credit goes to Marc Collat and the players. Martinique were seen as the easy game for everyone else in the group. They had beaten both Saint Lucia and Puerto Rico in the preliminary rounds to get into their group, They faced a “road” game as many Salvadorians flocked to Fort Lauderdale and come away with a 2-1 win and there’s no shortage of stars that won them this game.

Burner and Fortune gave Martinique the quick two-nil lead of big turnovers. From then on, it was the Yannis Clementia Show. The 25-year-old shot-stopper – who plies his trade for Caen in Ligue 2 -made 8 saves, 7 inside the box and stopped a penalty. A true Man of the Match performance that should see his stock rise, while opponents must become more clinical in front of him.

Martinique have announced itself in this competition. They’ll go into their next game versus Panama with more than house money, they advance to the knockout rounds with another victory.

#2: El Salvador’s Awful Night Gives Them a Near-Impossible Task

It’s hard to describe how bad this performance was by Hugo Perez’s men. Down 2-0 by self-inflicted errors at the half. They ended the game outshooting Martinique 22-7, out-possessing them 65%-35%, were a man up with over 40 minutes left and rewarded two penalties, only to lose. As previously mentioned, Martinique are the “easy” game for everyone else in the group, that includes La Selecta.

Nobody told El Salvador that in CONCACAF, there are no easy games. And with a team that has constantly struggled to score, it makes their job twice, three times as difficult. Hugo Perez shuffled the deck with his team selection. Tomas Romero started in goal instead of the always-reliable Mario Gonzalez. Jairo Henriquez and Joshua Perez didn’t start. And curiously, why is Enrico Duenas on the under-22 team in Honduras and not part of the senior team? The only glimmer of hope, if any, is that they have a goal on the board for goal differential purposes. But it may not even matter given that Costa Rica are up next Friday night.

READ MORE: El Salvador comeback falls short in elimination to Qatar

#3: Group C Is Both the Group of Death and the Most Entertaining

One look at Group C gave you the impression each game would feel like a knock-down drag-out battle. Martinique were the new guys on the block, El Salvador have enjoyed moderate success in this competition throughout past editions. Panama and Costa Rica are heavyweights, which gives each game a good feel about it.

So far, we’ve got an upset and with Panama’s 2-1 win over Costa Rica, the group takes further shape Friday night. Martinique-Panama will fight for the top spot, while El Salvador and Costa Rica try to avoid the bottom. Of all the groups in the competition, Group C is the most entertaining and evenly-played, meaning it’ll go down to the final match day.


Photo Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports, of a Bryan Tamacas Headshot, on March 27, 2023.


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