CONCACAF today conducted a draw for the finals of its 2012 Olympic qualifying tournament. The draw, which took place at the confederation’s New York headquarters, pitted defending champion Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago against each other in Group B while the host United States, Canada, Cuba and El Salvador will meet in Group A.
Group A play will take place at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee, while Group B will face off at The Home Depot Center in the Carson, California. The semifinals and final will be played at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
A full schedule for the March 22-April 2 tournament is expected to be announced by the end of the week. Semifinal winners will qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London July 27-August 12.
The draw sets up a potential rematch of the 2008 CONCACAF Olympic qualifying title match between the United States and Honduras in the semifinals. Honduras beat the Americans 1-0 in extra time in Nashville.
Cuba, Trinidad reach Olympic qualifying finals
Kevin Molino scored four goals, including three in the opening 32 minutes, to lead Trinidad and Tobago to a 9-1 victory over Suriname on Monday and a place in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying finals.
Trinidad will be joined in the finals by Cuba, which later drew 1-1 with St. Kitts & Nevis to finish atop the last four-team round of Caribbean qualifying. Cuba ended with five points, one better than Trinidad and St. Kitts. Trinidad’s final day rout gave it a + 5 goal difference, edging out St. Kitts, which finished with a + 2.
It will be Cuba’s second straight trip to the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying finals and Trinidad’s first since 2004.
Santos, Tigres, Chorrillo qualify for 2012-13
Santos Laguna assured itself of a third straight appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League and fourth overall, and will be joined by debutante Tigres, after both advanced to the finals of the Mexican Apertura this past weekend. Chorillo of Panama also qualified, becoming the fourth different team from the isthmus nation to reach the confederation’s club competition.
Santos will host Tigres on Thursday in Torreon and then will travel to Monterrey on Sunday for the decider, with the winner assuring itself of a berth in the Group Stage. The runner-up will enter in the Preliminary Round. Santos won 3-2 at home on Saturday to draw even 4-4 on aggregate, and advanced due to its better finish in the regular season standings. A day later, Tigres beat Queretaro 1-0 on a Manuel Lopez Mondragon’s own goal to reach the title match.
Chorrillo won its first-ever Panamanian league title Friday, beating Plaza Amador 4-1 at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. Rolando Blackburn scored twice for the Apertura champion, earning it at least a Preliminary Round berth in next season’s Champions League.
Herediano will face Alajuelense on Sunday in the first leg of the finals, and then again the following Sunday to decide the Costa Rican Torneo Invierno crown. Herediano defeated Cartagines 1-0 on Monday to complete a 3-1 aggregate victory in one semifinal, while defending champion Alajuelense drew 2-2 with visiting Saprissa to advance 3-2 on aggregate. Both teams are looking to return to the Champions League for a second straight season.
Olimpia will try for a fifth straight appearance in the Champions League when it takes on Real Espana in the Honduran Apertura two-leg finals on Sunday and December 17. Olimpia, which beat Marathon 1-0 in the first leg, drew 0-0 on Monday to advance. Real Espana defeated Vida 4-1 on Saturday to complete a 5-1 victory. Olimpia is one of only four teams to have qualified for the Champions League each year of the previous four years since it was inaugurated in 2008.
Once Municipal won 1-0 at FAS on Sunday, while Metapan was held to a 3-3 draw at home on Saturday by Luis Ángel Firpo in the opening leg of the Apertura semifinals. The dates and times of the second legs are pending. Like Honduras’ Olimpia, a tournament title will earn Metapan a fifth straight appearance in the Champions League.
In quarterfinal action, Municipal drew 0-0 at Marquense on Sunday to their series 2-0 on aggregate, while Comunicaciones advanced to the Apertura semifinals on away goals (1-0) after a 0-0 draw. Municipal will face regular-season leader Suchitepequez in the semifinals on Thursday and Sunday, while Comunicaciones will meet Xelaju on Wednesday and Saturday. The Apertura winner qualifies for the Champions League.
Trinidad leads trio into U-17 women’s finals; Panama and Costa Rica face off for last berth
Diarra Simmons scored her fifth goal in three games and led Trinidad & Tobago to a 1-0 victory over Jamaica on Saturday, as both sides qualified for the 2012 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship.
Third-place finisher Bahamas also advanced. The three countries finished atop the final round of Caribbean qualifying played in Jamaica and will join automatic North American qualifiers Canada, Mexico and the United States and host Guatemala in the May 2-13 finals.
One berth remains to be decided for the U-17 Women’s finals. Panama and Costa Rica will square off Wednesday and Sunday in a two-leg playoff to complete the field.
Aruba finishes second at 2011 ABCS Tournament
Aruba fell to Bonaire 4-3 on penalties following a 2-2 draw on Sunday in the championship match of the “ABCS Tournament” — an international friendly quadrangular — at the Dr. Franklin Essed Stadium in Paramaribo, Suriname.
Trailing 2-0 in the second half, Aruba equalized with goals from Jean-Luc Bergen and Ronald Gomez to send the match into penalty kicks. Aruba reached the final by getting past Suriname 5-4 on penalty kicks after a scoreless tie in the first semifinal on Friday.
In the other semifinal, goals by Kenneth Kunst, Calvenhoven Ivanny and Andre Piar lifted Bonaire to a 3-1 victory over Curacao. Suriname defeated Curacao 2-0 to claim the third place.
Costa Rica to host Brazil for pair of friendlies
For the first time, Costa Rica will host a pair of futsal friendlies against four-time world champion Brazil at Cartago’s Polideportivo on December 14 and 16. The Ticos, who have never beaten the Samba Kings in eight previous matches since 1992, are currently preparing for next year’s CONCACAF Futsal Qualifying tournament.
Brazil will visit Central America for the first time since the 2000 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Guatemala and is currently riding a 28-game unbeaten streak