The first four matchdays of the Concacaf Nations League dished out brilliant individual performances, shock results, and a healthy serving of small nations capitalizing on their moment in the spotlight. Mexico and Honduras took care of business once they joined the action, but League A certainly didn’t go according to script as a whole.
Meanwhile, Leagues B and C provided no shortage of highs and lows for the many nations looking to climb the ladder in the region and build the sport domestically. Here’s where we stand before play resumes in mid-November.
Have you heard of Mr. Showtime by now? Grenada’s 23-year-old assassin in the penalty area, Jamal Charles, has three match-winners under his belt in just four games to propel his side to the top of Group A with 10 points. French Guiana (five points) and Saint Kitts and Nevis (four points), and Belize (three points) are all locked in a battle to see who can finish behind Grenada. Belize looked to be contenders and possibly even group favorites heading into play, but their solitary win has them facing an uphill battle when play resumes, to say the least.
El Salvador’s campaign may have hit a bump in the road with a shocking loss to the Dominican Republic back in September, but they quickly rebounded by collecting a pair of 2-0 results to return to the top of Group B. The Dominican Republic could have kept pace with their Central American opposition at nine points with a victory, but Montserrat fought tooth and nail in a scoreless draw on Tuesday to keep themselves within striking distance. As it stands, Saint Lucia sit at the bottom of the pile with a single point from four matchdays.
Jamaica have raised their standards after reaching the final in two of the last three Gold Cups. Nevertheless, they find themselves in League B surrounded by inferior opposition and know the task at hand to achieve promotion. It was always going to be a question of just how many goals the Reggae Boyz would produce in a group with Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, and Aruba, and you can’t get much better than 18 scored and zero conceded. Their latest lopsided result came in the form of a 6-0 demolition of Aruba.
Meanwhile, Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda are left to duke it out for second and are caught in a tight affair, as both have won a pair and lost as many to leave them knotted at six points. Aruba will look to secure their first point and restore a bit of pride when play rolls back around in November.
Three teams are alive and well in Group D, setting up what should be a thrilling set of fixtures next month. Suriname leaped out of the gate in the opening rounds with a tight win over Dominica and a 6-0 walloping of Nicaragua, who looked the be the favorites from the outset. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines took it upon themselves to bring Suriname back to earth and did exactly that with a draw and win in the span of a few days, which saw them climb to the top spot at eight points — one above both Suriname and Nicaragua. Dominica will be looking to stir the pot themselves and get on the board when they take on the group leaders and Suriname in November.
The Cayman Islands enjoyed a sizzling start before suffering a shocking 3-0 loss to Saint Martin, but they restored order with a 1-0 win in the return leg to stay at the top of the group alongside Barbados at nine points. It’s all to play for at the top, while the U.S. Virgin Islands and Saint Martin — both on three points — are left to battle it out at the bottom of the barrel.
Despite playing one fewer game and having to maintain composure in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the Bahamas are perfect at the top of the group with six points. It’s Bonaire who were able to do just enough to stay even at the top thanks to a thrilling 4-3 win over the British Virgin Islands, who have yet to pick up a point while surrendering 12 goals.
If you think what Jamaica have done to their opponents is cruel, then look away from Group C. Guatemala found themselves surrounded by teams they should beat 10 times out of 10 due to their FIFA-imposed suspension and subsequent absence from qualifying. With an uphill battle to return to challenging near the top, they’ve wasted no time in brushing aside Anguilla (twice) and Puerto Rico — who just picked up their first points with a 3-2 result — by a combined score of 20-0.
Rounding out League C is a group led by Guadeloupe, who are looking to return to the Gold Cup for the first time since 2011. There seems to be no doubt they are a team on the rise with three wins from three, as Turks and Caicos sit comfortable behind with three points and Sint Maarten, the Dutch half of the island, are left to pick up the pieces following three consecutive defeats.