-For Day Six, the travelling road show that is the 2015 Gold Cup landed in Phoenix, Arizona for the second series of Group B fixtures.
In the first match Trinidad and Tobago met Cuba, who were closer to full strength, having missed six players and their head coach in their first match after visa issues delayed their arrival – and, of course, the customary defection or two.
The Trinidadians showed well in the first contest, beating Guatemala 3-1, while the Cubans struggled against powerhouses Mexico, perhaps lucky the score was only 6-0 in a stomping.
The Soca Warriors would require just sixteen minutes to take the lead, adding another before half-time to secure their spot in the next round with a 2-0 result.
The first goal came from a long ball forward, taken down by Lester Peltier in the area. His initial shot was saved by the Cuban keeper, Diosvely Guerra, but the rebound fell to Sheldon Bateau at the top of the box for a right-footer into the back of the net, past the covering defender, Yenier Marquez.
Cuba showed some signs of life in attack, crafting a few half-chances, but it was T&T who struck again before the half came to an end when a long throw from Daneil Cyrus on the right was weakly-cleared by Cuban defender Marquez.
His header fell to the top of the area, where it was met on the half-volley by Andre Boucard with a right-footer that found the bottom right-corner of goal.
Los Liones del Caribe had a good look at pulling one back before the pause when a deep free-kick fell to Maikel Reyes at the left-post. He cut inside onto his right-foot past one defender, only for his effort to be denied by a save from Trinidadian keeper, Jan Williams, who injured himself in the process. He would be replaced by back-up, Marvin Phillip.
Cuba would mount some pressure through the second half, but nothing came to fruition; their best look was wasted when one player took the ball off the boot of another, only to set up a lesser chance from the top of the area – disappointing and disjointed.
With the win, Trinidad and Tobago would take the top spot in the group, on six points and a plus-four from two matches, while Cuba is set to exit the competition without a point and currently minus-eight.
The second match pitted Mexico, once more playing in front of a vocal, partisan crowd, against Guatemala, who put in a heroic defensive display to survive with a 0-0 draw.
Surprisingly it was Los Chapines who nearly took the lead in the 8th minute, pouncing on a weak back-pass to hit on the counter, threatening the Mexican goal.
Brandon De Leon gobbled up a ball from Jose Vasquez, racing up-field before finding Carlos Ruis on the right. He in turn switched to Minor Lopez on the left, but his right-footed looped touch over the keeper, Guillermo Ochoa, would sail agonizingly over the bar.
Mexico would have their chances – Guatemalan keeper, Paulo Motta came up huge, denying Andres Guardado at the back-post from a right-sided Oribe Peralta cross in the 34th minute, staying big to block a shot. A handball went uncalled, while when El Tri did find the back of the net in the 39th minute a strike from Francisco Rodriguez was called back for a shove on the preceding free-kick into the area.
The two sides would enter half-time level.
Mexico would call for further penalties: once when Paul Aguilar was dumped in the box by Moises Hernandez and again when a desperate defensive-header from defender Ruben Morales may have struck off his arm in the area; but their shouts once more fell on deaf ears.
El Salvador (oops) Guatemala would go down to ten men in the 76th minute when Jose Contreras collected his second yellow card of the evening for a late challenge on Aguilar – he saw his first just two minutes earlier after dumping Carlos Vela to the ground.
But despite the man-advantage, and a late chance from Hector Herrera that struck off the underside of the bar, but stayed out, the match would end scoreless, each collecting a single point.
Through two matches, Group C would end with the Trinidadians on top, having won both their matches, while Mexico is firmly in second with four points and a plus-six. Guatemala will cherish their hard-fought point, though with just one and a minus-two, they will likely be scrapping for a third-placed spot, while Cuba sits at the bottom of the group.
The group will conclude on Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina with Cuba facing Guatemala and Mexico taking on Trinidad and Tobago.
For Day Seven, the games return to Group A with Haiti facing Honduras and Panama playing the USA in Kansas City, Kansas.
The USA has secured a place in the Quarterfinals with six points and a plus-two - they will meet one of the third-placed teams from Group B or C – while the other guaranteed spot is entirely up for grabs. Panama currently holds it on two points and an even differential, but they face the US, whereas Honduras and Haiti each have a point and a minus-one; should either take the match, they could vault into second.