Gimenez’s golden strike, historic hat tricks in top moments
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Gimenez’s golden strike, historic hat tricks in top moments

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LOS ANGELES, California – The 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup has concluded after Mexico’s 1-0 victory over Panama in Sunday’s Final. There were many memorable moments over the course of the last month in the tournament’s 40 matches, yet these five stood out the most.

Gimenez’s dramatic goal earns Mexico title

When a coach substitutes on a striker, the hope is that the player will respond with an important attacking moment in the game. For Mexico Head Coach Jaime Lozano, he could not have asked for more than what he got from Santiago Gimenez. The forward replaced Henry Martin in the 85th minute of Sunday’s Final and by the 88th minute Gimenez had beaten a Panama defender and finished into net to earn Mexico a 1-0 win and a ninth Gold Cup crown. 

Gimenez goes down as the fastest-scoring substitute for Mexico in a Concacaf Final and scored the second fastest goal by a substitute in a Gold Cup Final, just two minutes shy of Brek Shea of the United States in 2013.

Gimenez’s goal completes a dream tournament for Mexico, who rebounded from a frustrating Third-Place finish in the 2022-23 Concacaf Nations League Finals to return to the Gold Cup mountaintop.

Carrasquilla delivers top tournament performance

While his team came up just short in Sunday’s Final, Panama MF Adalberto Carrasquilla enjoyed an extraordinary performance in the 2023 Gold Cup. The winner of the Best Player Award seemingly delivered one masterclass after another in running the show in the center of the field for the Canaleros. 

The 24-year-old Houston Dynamo man starred in the knockout stage with assists in the 4-0 quarterfinal win versus Qatar and then in the semifinals against the United States. Carrasquilla showed poise beyond his years in converting the winning penalty in Panama’s 5-4 penalty shootout win over the U.S. in the semifinals after a 1-1 draw.

No question that Carrasquilla’s performance for Panama will rank as one of the best in Gold Cup history from any midfielder.


Saint Kitts and Nevis shake up Prelims to reach Group Stage

The 2023 Gold Cup got off to a rocking start in the Prelims and at the heart of it was Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Sugar Boyz, who qualified for their first Gold Cup as the winner of their group in League C of the 2022-23 Concacaf Nations League, defeated 2019 Gold Cup quarterfinalists Curacao in the First Round of the Prelims via a shootout before repeating that feat against French Guiana in the Second Round to punch their group stage ticket.

GK Julani Archibald led the way, holding Curacao to a single goal, while making several top saves before coming up with another two stops in the penalty shootout. He was just as good against French Guiana, making another save in that penalty shootout victory. Archibald finished the Gold Cup with 19 saves in his country’s maiden voyage in the tournament.

Guatemala win group for first time

For the first time in 12 Gold Cup appearances, Guatemala finished atop their group, as Los Chapines captured the top spot in Group D with two wins and a draw. Guatemala opened the tournament with a 1-0 win over Cuba before toughing out a 0-0 draw against Canada. It was in their group stage finale against Guadeloupe in which their fans were taken on a rollercoaster ride. Guatemala twice battled back from one-goal deficits to rally for a 3-2 victory.

The seven points were the most Guatemala had ever earned in a group stage campaign and it was also their first quarterfinal since the 2011 edition. Los Chapines joined Panama, Honduras and Costa Rica as Central American teams to have won a Gold Cup group.

Diaz and Ferreira tally historic hat-tricks

The 2023 Gold Cup will be remembered for a pair of historic hat tricks attained by strikers Jesus Ferreira of the United States and Ismael Diaz of Panama. 

Ferreira’s accomplishment came over the course of two games. The FC Dallas man notched a hat trick in the 6-0 group stage victory against Saint Kitts and Nevis, and then repeated that feat in the next match against Trinidad and Tobago, which also finished in a 6-0 win for the U.S. Ferreira became not only the first player to score two hat tricks in a single Gold Cup, but he became the first U.S. player to score hat tricks in back-to-back games.

Diaz’s history-making moment arrived in the quarterfinals. With Panama holding a 1-0 lead versus Qatar, Diaz struck to double Panama’s lead to 2-0 in the 56th minute. He then got his second goal of the night in the 63rd minute before rounding out his hat trick just two minutes later in the 65th minute. With that, Diaz scored the fastest hat trick in Gold Cup history, getting three goals in 10 minutes, besting the old record of 11 minutes set by Haiti FW Frantzdy Pierrot against Bermuda in the 2021 Prelims and legendary Mexico FW Zague against Martinique in the 1993 group stage.