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El Salvador, Canada win in Gold Cup

El Salvador upsets Costa Rica, 2-1, and Canada edges Jamaica, 1-0, at the Home Depot Center.

July 04, 2009|Mario Aguirre

Fans piled into the stadium hours before the match, clogging the streets surrounding the Home Depot Center at least a mile behind.

Ultimately the match proved to be worth the early arrival -- at least for El Salvador supporters.

Osael Romero scored twice, including the decisive goal in the 86th minute, to secure a 2-1 El Salvador victory Friday against Costa Rica in the opening round of the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament in front of a sellout crowd of 27,000.

Earlier, Canada defeated Jamaica, 1-0.

William Reyes had a hand on both goals scored for El Salvador, which upset Costa Rica, the first-place team in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Costa Rica had won its last four matches. It also had not lost to El Salvador since 1997, spanning 12 games.

After Reyes crossed a pass to Romero that was deflected by a Costa Rican defender, Romero recovered it and delivered the winning goal from 15 yards.

It was similar to the first goal that put El Salvador ahead early.

After receiving the ball on the left side of the field, Reyes attacked the goal, faking his defender out of position, and holding it momentarily before feeding it to Romero, who scored it in the 20th minute.

In the first match of the doubleheader, Canada's Ali Gerba scored off a cross from Michael Klukowski in the 75th minute.

Gerba recorded his third goal in the last two matches, helping Canada win its third straight match since Coach Stephen Hart took over the team in his second stint.

Gerba, who joined Major League Soccer's Toronto FC late last month, scored his 14th career goal in 25 matches, ranking him fifth all-time for the Canadian national team. His goal Friday was also his fifth in the Gold Cup, tying Carlo Corazzin's team record.

Klukowski delivered a long, left-footed pass to a streaking Gerba, who was covered well by Jamaican defender Claude Davis. Gerba received the pass as he fell but guided the ball with his right foot past Jamaican goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who plays for the Galaxy.

Canada now has collected wins against Cyprus, 1-0, on May 30, and Guatemala, 3-0, on June 30.

Friday's victory, though, helped put the young Canadian team in a comfortable position heading into Tuesday's match against El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio.

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mario.aguirre@latimes.com

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