MIAMI, Florida -- Some of Concacaf’s best players proved their worth to their squads in the first matchweek of Concacaf Nations League play in League A.
Perhaps no one was as key to their team’s success as Curacao goalkeeper Eloy Room. The Columbus Crew backstop not only made 10 saves over the course of a historic win over Haiti and a draw against Les Grenadiers a few days later.
He, of course, needed help from the attack with Elson Hooi showing as one of the top forwards in League A play. Hooi scored Curacao’s lone goal in each contest, with a tidy return of two goals on six shots.
Panama forward Gabriel Torres also had two goals, with his double in Bermuda spurring the Central Americans’ tournament-opening 4-1 win over the Gombey Warriors. However, Bermuda turned the tide with a 2-0 win in the second game of the FIFA date thanks to a double from Nahki Wells.
Helping keep the clean sheet in Panama was Jaylon Bather, who made a shocking 10 clearances over the course of both games, picked off two passes and didn’t put a single pass wrong over 193 minutes of play.
Room’s Curacao teammate Darryl Lachman made four clearances and ended the window with a 96.4 percent pass completion rate.
Mark-Anthony Kaye, Canada’s two-way player, challenged the Bermuda duo for defensive supremacy with a pair of interceptions as well and also an assist with Canada topping Cuba in both matches this window.
Kaye’s countryman dominated the best midfielder listings in League A, with Alphonso Davies scoring in Canada’s second match, a 1-0 win over Cuba, and also helping on defense with six interceptions and a pair of clearances. Jonathan Osorio chipped in with a goal as well, plus added two assists in Canada’s 6-0 victory over Cuba in Toronto.
Martinique’s Stephane Abaul also earned strong marks, with a 95 percent pass accuracy and six shots in 191 minutes of play.