Canada beats Jamaica in Gold Cup opener
By THE CANADIAN PRESS
CARSON, Calif. - Ali Gerba scored in the 75th minute as Canada opened the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 1-0 win over Jamaica on Friday.
It was Gerba's fifth career Gold Cup goal, tying Carlo Corazzin for the national record.
Corazzin scored all five of his in 2000, when Canada won the tournament.
Simeon Jackson, who entered the game in the 70th minute, began the scoring sequence by holding off two defenders and sending the ball to Mike Klukowski on the left wing.
Klukowski dribbled down the flank and crossed the ball to Gerba, whom Jamaican defender Claude Davis was marking tightly. But Gerba extended his right foot and volleyed the ball inside the left post from seven yards.
Jamaican goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was frozen on the play after making two dramatic one-handed saves earlier.
Ricketts jumped and used his right hand in the 25th minute to tip Kevin McKenna's 12-yard shot over the crossbar. In the 46th minute, Ricketts made a similar save against Josh Simpson's 19-yard line drive.
Canadian goalkeeper Greg Sutton kept Jamaica scoreless with two saves in a 10-minute span of the second half. In the 54th minute, Sutton dived to his right to stop Damion Stewart's 13-yard line drive.
Then in the 64th minute, after a pass from former Toronto FC defender Tyrone Marshall freed Ricardo Fuller for a breakaway, Sutton blocked Fuller's 14-yard shot.
Sutton, whom Toronto FC released earlier during the Major League Soccer season, finished with five saves.
Referee Terry Vaughn issued six yellow cards, only one of them to a Canadian. Julian de Guzman received a caution in the 36th minute.
Attendance included a smattering of Canadians, indicated by a handful of Canadian flags - including one with a black silhouette of a moose in the centre stripe - and the banner of the Voyageurs, the large supporters group.
The Gold Cup is the soccer championship for countries in North and Central America and the Caribbean.