Above: Haiti and Trinidad face off in Miami (CJ Photo)
By Alexander Britell
MIAMI – On a damp field at Sun Life stadium, Haiti’s Jean-Eudes Maurice was simply unstoppable.
The Le Mans forward scored two goals to lead Haiti’s Grenadiers to a 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in Gold Cup Group B play.
Maurice kicked things off for Haiti with a goal in the 16th minute, and followed it up by scoring off a rebound in the 53rd minute of play. He has now scored 10 goals for Haiti in internationals.
Haiti came out with a very high confidence level, and was dominant for most of the game, led by the exuberant play of Maurice, who rebounded to return after suffering what appeared to be an injury due to a collision near the end of the first half.
Trinidad began the second half with a renewed energy, hitting the post in the 46th minute, but it was no match for the frenetic pace of Haiti and Maurice, who continued to rally the relatively small crowd in Miami Gardens.
It was a tense game between the two Caribbean rivals, with a small skirmish breaking out in just the fifth minute, although no cards were issued.
The two sides were playing on a moist pitch after heavy rains most of the day in Miami, which seemed to lead to the tiny crowd that grew as the game went on. (That was in part due to the second game of Friday night’s football doubleheader, Honduras vs. El Salvador).
The game should certainly put Paris Saint-Germain on notice, the club from which Maurice is currently on loan.
Les Grenadiers came into the game as the Caribbean’s top-ranked team, standing at 69th in the world, while Trinidad was ranked 87th.
It was the first time the two sides had ever met in a Gold Cup match.
Their previous meeting, in the final group of the CFU Caribbean Cup last year, ended in a scoreless tie. That was the first time they had played since a 2007 Caribbean Cup game in which Haiti defeated Trinidad 2-1.
Trinidad was coming off a 2-2 draw with El Salvador in its Gold Cup opener, while Haiti was following up a 2-0 loss to Honduras.
Haiti had been winless in its previous seven full internationals, since a 1-0 win in the Caribbean Cup in December 2012.
Haiti’s Jean Sony Alcenat received the game’s only yellow card.