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Bermuda start Gold Cup with a defeat

Bermuda lost their opening game at the CONCACAF Gold Cup last night 2-1 to Haiti. Bermuda took the lead right on half time when captain Dante Leverock powered home a header from a corner.

It was a dream score at the break and until then the half had been pretty even with Bermuda trying to keep the ball and having much the better of the chances. Haiti came out stronger in the 2nd half and in the end their fitness and strength prevailed.

There was no shame in losing to the region’s Nation League Qualifiers winners, with almost all of the Haiti squad playing professionally in either the USA or in Europe in the 2nd tiers of the French, Belgium and Spain’s leagues. One of Haiti’s defenders is at St Mirren.

Only Nahki Wells has that kind of professional experience in the Bermuda ranks. A few play in the English non-league, Jonte Smith has just left Oxford and Reggie Lambe has had a decent lower league career and is currently at Cambridge. The rest all play semi-professionally, mostly in Bermuda in the often disorderly and below-par Premier Division.

As for Wells, he cut a desolate figure in the 2nd half, playing too far from his midfield and he was unable to affect the game.

Bermuda’s players, Wells notably aside, struggled to keep up with Haiti’s levels of fitness as I fear they will in their next game against Costa Rica on Thursday in Texas. Costa Rica cast aside Nicaragua last night 4-0. I think Bermuda can beat Nicaragua as well, just a shame the Gombey Warriors couldn’t hang on yesterday for a point.

The day before in the opening games Canada beat Martinique 4-0 and Mexico stuffed Cuba 7-0. I suspect we will see more one-sided games in the opening groups.

Sadly, at least as far as I can see, Bermuda’s first ever appearance at a major tournament has gone relatively unnoticed on this small island, although there were pockets of supporters in the crowd yesterday in Costa Rica’s National Stadium.

Interestingly each of the group’s 1st round matches are double headers, CONCACAF anticipating small crowds I suspect, but still the first games were played to near empty stadiums in Los Angeles and Costa Rica. They did fill for the 2nd games as Mexico fans streamed into the Rose Bowl and the official attendance for the Costa Rica game was given as 19,140

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