Guatemala wins, inches closer to Gold Cup return

Carlos Ruiz (white jersey) scored in Guatemala's 2-1 Central American Cup win over Belize on September 7, 2014, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. (Photo: Mexsport)

DALLAS, Texas – Carlos Ruiz and Marvin Avila scored as Guatemala (2-0-0, 6 points) moved one step closer to clinching a berth in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup after beating Belize, 2-1, in a Central American Cup (CCA) Group A match at the Cotton Bowl on Sunday.

Guatemala remains unbeaten in CCA play against Belize with a 3-2-0 record.

Ruiz opened the scoring with a brilliant strike in the 26th minute.  With his back to goal, Guatemala’s all-time leading scorer took a cross off his chest, turned and beat Belize goalkeeper Shane Orio with a bouncing volley from 10 yards.

El Pescadito’s sixth career CCA goal and first in 11 years came two minutes after Orio robbed Marco Pappa of his third tournament tally, making a sensational diving save on a 22-yard shot.

Avila put Guatemala in front, 2-0, in the 51st minute, latching onto a deflected cross and putting a lunging eight-yard header on frame.  Orio dived to his right and made the save as the momentum carried the ball just over the goal line.

Deon McCaulay pulled back a goal for Belize in the 80th minute, when he took a short pass from Trevor Lennon and hammered a 24-yard shot from inside the right post for his fourth career CCA goal.

The Atlanta Silverbacks forward nearly scored 11 minutes earlier only to see goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez save his low, 10-yard shot before it caromed out for a corner kick.

Ruiz almost added a second goal in the 72nd minute as his attempt from the top of the 18-yard box was denied by Orio.

The Belize netminder also robbed the Municipal striker in the 81st minute and in stoppage time.

Ian Gaynair nearly leveled for Belize in the closing seconds, but his header off the mark.

Belize closes out the group stage against El Salvador on Wednesday at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, while Guatemala meets Honduras in the second game of the doubleheader.

 To view the Highlights of this game, click here.