FOXBORO, Massachusetts (CMC):
THE UNITED States and Costa Rica battled to a 0-0 draw as Group B play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup ended in triumph for the Americans on Tuesday night.
In a competitive game, the U.S. and Costa Rica, both already qualified for the next round, showed toughness in the midfield, and the result left the U.S. slightly ahead - on goals scored - in the group, as both teams finished on seven points.
With the score tied 0-0 at halftime, both teams came out running in the second 45 minutes of play, only to be shut down by a competent display of defence.
Hoping to secure the win, U.S. coach Bruce Arena pulled star forwards Landon Donovan and Demarcus Beasley off the bench.
The decision looked set to pay off on a couple of occasions, but Costa Rica' s goalkeeper Jose Porras made brilliant stops for the Central Americans.
The draw left the U.S. on top of Group B with six goals for and one against them. Costa Rica scored four and conceded one.
In the night's other Group B encounter, Caribbean Cup runners-up Cuba plunged to their third consecutive loss, falling 2-1 to Canada in their Group B match at Gillette Stadium. Ali Gerba secured Canada's first goal of the tournament midway through the second half and Atiba Hutchinson stretched the lead to two shortly after.
But two goals were never going to be enough to vault the Canadians into the quarter finals as one of the two best third-placed teams.
Mathematically, the Canadians still have a chance, but Jamaica had to defeat defending champions Mexico by an unlikely six goals or more in the Group C final game last night for them to advance.
In Group A, Honduras took advantage of Panama's defensive mistakes to win 1-0 at the Orange Bowl in Miami and advance to the next round as Group winners.
Honduras dominated early with good movement and several good scoring chances, but it was not until the 79th minute that forward Samuel Caballeros scored the game's only goal. Coming in sharply from a corner, Caballero climbed unmarked to place a header past Panama's goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
In the other Group A clash, Trinidad and Tobago exited the tournament when guest team Colombia beat them 2-0.