Lopez nets twice as resurgent Cuba defeats Canada

Frank Lopez (pictured) scored both of Cuba's goals in its 2-0 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship win over Canada on January 19, 2015, in Montego Bay, Jamaica. (Photo: Mexsport)

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Frank Lopez scored two goals and Cuba (1-1-2, 4 points) revived its 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship campaign with a 2-1 Group B triumph over Canada (1-0-3, 3 points) on Monday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

It was the Cubans' first win of the competition, while Canada lost for the third straight time after opening with a victory over Haiti.  The tripleheader will continue later in the evening with El Salvador (1-2-0, 5 points) facing first-place Mexico (3-0-0, 9 points) and Haiti (0-2-1, 2 points) taking on Honduras (1-1-1, 4 points).

The opportunistic Lopez capitalized on a miscue to score the game’s first goal in just the fifth minute.  Canada goalkeeper Nolan Wirth miskicked a backpass from Luca Gasparotto and the ball fell to Lopez, who was positioned 40 yards from the goal.  As Wirth retreated desperately to his line, the 19-year-old forward calmly lofted a shot into the back of the net. 

Canada had an chance to level in the 25th minute, but Cyle Larin headed Rares Serban’s right-sided cross high over the crossbar from nine-yards out. 

That miss would come back to haunt the Canadians as Lopez found the target once again in the 40th minute, heading down from 12-yards out Roberto Peraza's left-sided cross past a full-stretch Wirth and inside the right post.

After the break, Canada emerged from the tunnel with attacking intent, looking more cohesive in the build-up.  Its spirited play was rewarded in the 53rd minute.

Michael Petrasso chipped a pass diagonally from the lower-left side of the box to the top right.  The ball took a high bounce and Farmer was there to strike with his right foot past goalkeeper Elier Pozo from 17-yards out.

From that point on, the Canadians maintained most of the possession, while Cuba rarely ventured outside its own end.

Pozo was called upon to make a series a saves to preserve the win, thwarting Farmer and Samuel Adekugbe in the 75th and 79th minutes, respectively.

The sides return to action on Thursday with Cuba squaring off against El Salvador and Canada facing Honduras.

NOTES: Cuba’s Frank Lopez scored seven goals in Caribbean qualifying for the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship … Cuba also defeated Canada, 2-1, in the 2013 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.