Colombia dominates Panama 6-0, Puerto Rico gives strong fight to Brazil in W Gold Cup

Credit: Colombia NT

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Credit: Puerto Rico NT

This Wednesday, February 21, 2024, Snapdragon Stadium hosted a pair of games in the first-ever edition of the CONCACAF W Gold Cup. The initial two games of the competition were played at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., while the next two games were held at the Mission Valley fortress.

The first of the two games at the “Snap” was the Colombia women’s national team taking on the Panama women’s national team. Colombia were the heavy favorites heading into this match, with several players in Europe and other top leagues around the world. The South American team had been a surprise at the last FIFA women’s World Cup, exiting in the quarterfinal stage with a 2-1 loss to England.

The first half of the match ended with Colombia having a 3-0 lead over Panama, as Catalina Usme scored and Manuela Pavi netted a brace to put Las Cafeteras on top.

Real Madrid star Linda Caicedo did not start the match for Colombia and came on in the 70th minute of the match. The 19-year-old forward made an immediate impact, being part of the scoring play in Manuela Vanegas’ goal in the 72nd minute. Caicedo then went on to score a goal of her own in the 84th minute of the match, generating a beautiful one-two play with Manuela Vanegas, then dribbling into the box and firing a perfect shot to find the back of the net.

Caicedo talked about the big win after the match, “We are very happy with our debut, but it is the first game and we still do not know what can happen, we need to be humble to face the remaining two games.” Liana Salazar scored the final goal of the game to make it a massive 6-0 scoreline at Snapdragon Stadium in what was a very one-sided bout.

The second match of the day between Brazil and Puerto Rico was also expected to be one-sided, but Puerto Rico surprised everyone with their effort. The island-side were able to not just halt Brazil’s explosive attack featuring NWSL superstar Debinha, but were also able to generate some scoring opportunities. Puerto Rico clearly needed better finishing on the day, but were able to get past a rigid Brazil backline on a few occasions.

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The most impressive performance of the day came from Puerto Rico goalkeeper Sydney Martinez, who finished the match with eight saves. Right when it seemed that she was completely unbeatable, Brazil brought on Gabi Nunes and Geyse in the 71st minute. Both attackers pelted the Puerto Rico backline and were finally able to break through in the 81st minute when Gabi Nunes made it a 1-0 lead for the South American side.

Brazil were able to hang onto that slim lead, but the effort put in by Puerto Rico was very surprising and impressive against one of the heavy favorites to win this W Gold Cup.

The W Gold Cup will continue this Thursday, February 22, 2024, when Puerto Rico faces Paraguay and Canada plays El Salvador. The next round of games at Snapdragon Stadium in the competition will be on Saturday, February 24, when Puerto Rico plays Panama and Colombia clashes against Brazil in what will surely be the fight for first place in this group.

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