Football: US and Mexico win groups to reach Gold Cup knockout phase

Mexico edged El Salvador 1-0 to claim top spot in Group A.
Mexico edged El Salvador 1-0 to claim top spot in Group A.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The United States and Mexico both won their groups in the Concacaf Gold Cup on Sunday (July 18), scoring first-half goals that stood as game winners and advancing to the knockout rounds of the football tournament.

Shaquell Moore scored one of the fastest goals in national team history as the US captured Group B by holding on to beat Canada 1-0 and Luis Alfonso Rodriquez scored in the 26th minute, as Mexico edged El Salvador by the same score to claim top spot in Group A.

Moore, in his first international goal, scored just 20 seconds into the contest and goalkeeper Matt Turner made three second-half saves in Kansas City as the US finished 3-0 in group play, needing a victory to claim top spot over runner-up Canada.

Moore hammered a right-footed shot from close range to the centre of the goal after taking a pass from Sebastian Lletget.

In the 2014 World Cup, Clint Dempsey scored after 30 seconds for the US against Ghana in a group game.

The inexperienced American squad will play the runner-up from Group C in the quarter-finals while Canada, who needed just a draw to win the group, are set to square off against the Group C winner.

The clubs had split their last two games coming into Sunday's match at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Moore's first minute goal was all the US would need but Canada made the hosts work for the win, especially in the second half when they kept Turner busy.

The Americans failed to muster a shot on goal against Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau in the second half. The Canadians, who had more corners three to one, were trying to win on US soil for the first time since 1957.

Mexico came out on top in a back and forth and tightly contested match in Dallas to win the group with seven points from three matches. El Salvador settled for runners-up with two wins and one loss for six points.

Rodriguez scored by charging down the right side, where he took a pass from teammate Hector Herrera, then made a cut and launched a hard shot that deflected off another player before hitting the back of the goal.