Copa Centroamericana Preview: Matchday 1
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Costa Rica (pictured) will open its bid for a record-extending ninth Copa Centroamericana title on January 13, 2017, against El Salvador in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: Victor Straffon/Straffon Images)

2017 COPA CENTROAMERICANA – MATCHDAY 1
Estadio Rommel Fernandez – Panama City, Panama
January 13, 2017

Honduras v Nicaragua, 4:00 p.m.
Honduras leads all-time Copa series: 6W-0D-0L (31GF, 5GA)

Last Copa meeting: September 13, 2014 (at Los Angeles, California, USA) – Honduras 1, Nicaragua 0 -- Fifth-Place Match

Honduras
- Appearances: 13 (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014)
- Best Finish: Champion-3 (1993, 1995, 2011)
- Record: W-30; D-11; L-14; GF-101; GA-46
- Leading Scorer: Wilmer Velasquez (16 goals … 1997: 6, 2005: 6, 2007: 4)
- 8W-2D-3L in Copa openers (2W-0D-0L v Nicaragua)
- Lost 3 of last 5 Copa matches, after going unbeaten in 8 straight games
- With 101 goals, Honduras is one of only two teams to reach the century mark in Copa Centroamericana history (Costa Rica is first with 103 goals)
- Milton Nuñez is the only Honduran to score at least 1 goal in five different editions of the Copa Centroamericana (13 goals … 1995: 1, 1997: 1, 1999: 3, 2001: 3, 2005: 5).
- 2018 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Overall Record: W-3; D-2; L-3; GF-9; GA-8
- 2018 WCQ Scorers: Romell Quioto (3); Alberth Elis, Oscar Garcia, Eddie Hernandez, Emilio Izaguirre, Antony Lozano, Mario Martinez (1)
- Conceded 1 goal or fewer in last 5 WCQs
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Appearances: 12 (1991, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Record: W-18; D-7; L-19; GF-67; GA-58

Nicaragua
- Appearances: 13 (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014)
- Best Finish: Fifth Place-1 (2009)
- Record: W-4; D-4; L-31; GF-24; GA-110
- Leading Scorer: Jose Emilio Palacios (4 goals … 2003: 1, 2007: 3) and Samuel Wilson (4 … 2007: 2, 2009: 2)
- 0W-2D-11L in Copa openers
- Winless in 10 straight Copa matches (0W-2D-8L), since beating Guatemala, 2-0, in the 2009 fifth-place match to qualify for the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup
- 2018 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Overall Record: W-5; D-0; L-1; GF-15; GA-5
- 2018 WCQ Scorers: Carlos Chavarria, Raul Leguias (3); Juan Barrera, Luis Fernando Copete, Luis Galeano, Manuel Rosas (2); Norfran Lazo (1)
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Appearances: 1 (2009)
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Record: W-0; D-0; L-3; GF-0; GA-8

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Costa Rica v El Salvador, 6:30 p.m.
Costa Rica leads all-time Copa series: 9W-1D-2L (23GF, 7GA)

- Last Copa meeting: January 25, 2013 (at San Jose, Costa Rica) – Costa Rica 1, El Salvador 0 -- Semifinals

Costa Rica
- Appearances: 13 (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014)
- Best Finish: Champion-8 (1991, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2014)
- Record: W-35; D-13; L-8; GF-103; GA-35
- Leading Scorer: Rolando Fonseca (19 goals … 1993: 1, 1995: 3, 1997: 4, 1999: 5, 2001: 3, 2007: 3) … all-time leading Copa scorer
- 11W-2D-0L in Copa openers (2W-0D-0L v El Salvador)
- Unbeaten in last 8 Copa games (6W-2D-0L)
- Holds Copa records for most titles (8), most wins (35) and most goals scored (103)
- Conceded 1 goal or fewer in 28 of last 30 Copa games
- Scored at least 1 goal in 12 consecutive Copa matches
- Attempting to become first team to win 3 straight Copa titles
- In 2014 Copa final, rallied for a 2-1 win over Guatemala as Bryan Ruiz (28’) and Juan Bustos (56’) netted after Carlos Ruiz (25’ pen) struck for first goal
- 2018 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Overall Record: W-7; D-1; L-0; GF-17; GA-3
- 2018 WCQ Scorers: Christian Bolaños (4); Joel Campbell, Ronald Matarrita, Bryan Ruiz, Johan Venegas (2); Randall Azofeifa, Johnny Acosta, Celso Borges, Cristian Gamboa, Marco Ureña (1)
- Conceded 1 goal or fewer in each of 8 WCQs, including 5 shutouts
- Scored 2 goals or more in 5 of 8 WCQs
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Appearances: 12 (1991, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Record: W-16; D-15; L-19; GF-76; GA-63

El Salvador
- Appearances: 13 (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014)
- Best Finish: Third Place-5 (1995, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2013)
- Record: W-20; D-13; L-25; GF-57; GA-66
- Leading Scorer: Raul Diaz Arce (7 goals … 1991: 4, 1993: 1, 1995: 2)
- 6W-3D-4L in Copa openers
- Rafael Burgos had scored at least one goal in each of the previous three Copa Centroamericana editions, but he’s not on the 2017 roster
- Conceded 1 goal or fewer in 8 of last 9 Copa matches (1-2 loss v Guatemala on September 3, 2014)
- Scored 1 goal or fewer in 10 of last 11 Copa matches (2-0 win v Belize on September 10, 2014)
- 2018 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Overall Record: W-3; D-3; L-4; GF-12; GA-16
- 2018 WCQ Scorers: Nelson Bonilla (5); Alexander Larin (2); Arturo Alvarez, Jonathan Barrios, Darwin Ceren, Irvin Herrera, Pablo Punyed (1)
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Appearances: 9 (1996, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Record: W-7; D-6; L-15; GF-24; GA-49

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 Panama v Belize, 9:00 p.m.
Panama leads all-time Copa series: 2W-1D-0L (4GF, 1GA)

Last Copa meeting: January 14, 2011 (at Panama City, Panama) – Panama 2, Belize 0 – First Round

Panama
- Appearances: 12 (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014)
- Best Finish: Champion-1 (2009)
- Record: W-18; D-12; L-17; GF-52; GA-48
- Leading Scorer: Jorge Dely Valdes (6 goals … 2001: 6)
- 5W-4D-3L in Copa openers (0W-1D-0L v Belize)
- Unbeaten in last 14 Copa games (8W-6D-0L)
- Conceded 1 goal or fewer in 13 of last 14 Copa matches, including 10 shutouts
- Last Copa loss: 0-3 v Costa Rica in first round on January 23, 2009
- Blas Perez is only Panamanian to score at least 1 goal in more than two Copa Centroamericana editions (3 … 2011: 1, 2013: 1, 2014: 2)
- 2018 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Overall Record: W-4; D-2; L-2; GF-8; GA-5
- 2018 WCQ Scorers: Luis Tejada (2); Abdiel Arroyo, Felipe Baloy, Armando Cooper, Fidel Escobar, Gabriel Torres, own-goal in favor of (1)
- Posted shutouts in 6 of 8 WCQs
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Appearances: 9 (1993, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Record: W-10; D-14; L-10; GF-47; GA-43

Belize
- Appearances: 10 (1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014)
- Best Finish: Fourth-1 (2013
- Record: W-1; D-5; L-22; GF-18; GA-65
- Leading Scorer: Deon McCaulay (4 goals … 2007: 2, 2013: 1, 2014: 1)
- 0W-1D-9L in Copa openers
- Lost last 5 Copa games (0W-0D-5L … only 1 goal scored over that stretch), after beating Nicaragua in 2013 fifth-place match
- In 2014 edition, lost in each of its 3 matches against teams that ultimately qualified for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup (0-2 v Honduras, 1-2 v Guatemala, 0-2 v El Salvador)
- Deon McCaulay was the joint-top scorer in qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Luis Suarez (Uruguay) and Robin Van Persie (Netherlands) … 11 goals each
- Never scored more than 3 total goals in a single Copa Centroamericana tournament (3 in 2001, 2007, 2009 & 2011)
- 2018 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Overall Record: W-2; D-3; L-1; GF-7; GA-6
- 2018 WCQ Scorers: Deon McCaulay (4); Elroy Kuylen (2); Harrison Roches (1)
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Appearances: 1 (2013)
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Record: W-0; D-0; L-3; GF-1; GA-11