Trinidad and Tobago striker Kenwyne Jones struck a superb 73rd minute equalizer to earn his country a 2-2 draw with El Salvador, while Honduras defeated Haiti 2-0 in CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B games on Monday.
An outstanding Rodolfo Zelaya scored twice for El Salvador and almost grabbed a spectacular winner in what was a pulsating, entertaining encounter at New Jersey’s Red Bull Arena.
Trinidad and Tobago grabbed the lead in the 11th minute when Keon Daniel burst through the middle of the El Salvador defense and confidently slotted home.
El Salvador, playing at a high tempo and making good use of the flanks, drew level 10 minutes later with a magnificent curling 22m free-kick from Zelaya.
Rafael Burgos hit the post for El Salvador four minutes before the interval, but they went ahead in the 69th minute when Zelaya met a perfect cross from Darwin Ceren with a fine diving header.
The lead lasted just four minutes before striker Jones took a long ball down on his chest, broke toward the goal and fired in a powerful left foot shot.
Both sides continued to drive forward and Zelaya almost had a hat-trick and the winner with an acrobatic effort that was tipped over the bar by Trinidad ’keeper Jan Michael Williams.
In the later group game, Haiti, fresh from last month’s friendly draw with Italy and narrow 2-1 loss to Spain, paid the price for their lack of sharpness in the final third.
Honduras took the lead in the fourth minute, with Mario Martinez breaking from midfield and slipping the ball inside to Rony Martinez, who fired home.
Haiti played plenty of positive attacking soccer, but too often, their moves broke down near the penalty area or ended with hasty finishing.
One of their best chances came in the 20th minute when Jeff Louis crossed to an unmarked Leonel Saint Preux, but the striker leaned back and blasted the ball over the bar.
Honduras rode their luck a little in the second half, but made sure of the win with 12 minutes remaining when Marvin Chavez finished off a low cross from Bryan Beckeles.
The Group C action was to start yesterday with Costa Rica to meet Cuba and hosts the US to face Belize in Portland, Oregon.