It took 93 minutes, but the 2013 Gold Cup came to life after Martinique scored a late winner to down Canada in the first match of the tournament.
The upset was just a sign of things to come on Sunday. Few could have predicted exactly how the day's matches would unfold.
Although the Gold Cup is not the most prestigious of tournaments, it's a great opportunity for a different group of players to establish themselves as their national teams gear up for the most important matches: World Cup qualification.
Here's a quick recap for each of Sunday's two group stage matches.
Martinique 1, Canada 0
The first half of this match went by pretty quickly. Neither team was able to get much of a foothold and control the match for long stretches.
If anything, Martinique were the stronger side. They tested Milan Borjan on a few occasions, and the keeper nearly made a mess of clearing some shots out of the box.
Canada only have an interim head coach and looked a side completely devoid of organization in the first half. They couldn't string any attacks together, their passing was poor in midfield and defensively, they had problems clearing out the danger.
It takes a lot to make Martinique look like a strong football team, but that's exactly what Canada did.
Gregory Arnolin should have put Martinique up in the 42nd, but he sent his shot high of the goal. Of the three or four chances Martinique had to score in the first half, that was the best.
The official blew the whistle after the first 45, thus ending what was some very dull football. French Football Weekly's Andrew Gibney was not enthralled with the first half.
Well Canada have been awful. Martinique should be ahead. Not the best game to be honest #GoldCup— Andrew Gibney (@Gibney_A) July 7, 2013
Football writer Jeff Bradley had some suggestions for how Canada could turn the match around.
Canada needs to get the puck into the corners and forecheck. #GoldCup— Jeff Bradley (@JerseyJBradley) July 7, 2013
The second half was largely more of the same.
Kevin Parsemain almost scored the first goal of the match in the 48th minute, but his header was saved by Borjan. Parsemain had a couple more efforts shortly thereafter, none of which found the back of the net.
Marcus Haber unleashed what was Canada's best chance to score in the 64th minute. His shot was saved by Kevin Olimpa.
American football expert Jason Davis struggled to find anything complimentary to say.
So I'm watching this Canada-Martinique game and...the field looks good I guess?— Jason Davis (@davisjsn) July 7, 2013
Just when you thought the match was going to end a scoreless draw, Martinique pulled a rabbit out of the hat in the 93rd minute. In this case, the rabbit was a vicious left-footed shot into the top right corner from Fabrice Reuperne. It was a terrible job of clearing the ball out by Canada, and the ball fell right to Reuperne.
It was a fantastic finish and more than made up for what had been a very poor match to that point.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about the match was how bad Canada were. According to the Counter Attack's Richard Whittall, this is a performance long coming for the Canadians.
Guys, this performance was years in the making. Thank your provincial association reps who sat on the CSA board a decade ago.— Richard Whittall (@RWhittall) July 7, 2013
This is a great result for Martinique. Any points they can get are good points. With Panama and Mexico looming ahead, nabbing a win against Canada is a strong start. They were the stronger side and fully deserved the points.
Panama 2, Mexico 1
Mexico came into this match hoping to look much better on the pitch. Jose Manuel de la Torre's footing as manager continues to be less and less steady. El Tri have looked very disjointed on the pitch and not made the most of the attacking talent they've got up top.
The Gold Cup is a chance for de la Torre to see some fresh blood on the pitch and hopefully find some players who can help stem the tide.
He couldn't have been feeling very good after the sixth minute. Alberto Quintero was brought down in the box by Raul Jimenez. It was a clear foul, as Jimenez clipped Quintero as he was running on goal. It wasn't the hardest foul you'll ever see, but FOX Soccer's Kyle McCarthy put it very well.
Not a good idea to have Raul Jimenez tracking inside his own penalty area. Silly challenge, though. Never give ref a chance to make call.— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) July 8, 2013
Gabriel Torres promptly stepped up and slotted the penalty into the bottom left corner.
Panama used the goal advantage to assert themselves in the first half. Much like Mexico's previous matches, El Tri failed to gain any traction during the match. They couldn't string a series of passes together, nor could they get anything going in the final third.
McCarthy was less than impressed with Mexico, even though de la Torre did have his players operating a little differently.
Mexico playing a bit more directly in this setup. Still lacking ideas and imagination. And rhythm, of course. #GoldCup— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) July 8, 2013
It was Panama who had the lion's share of chances, noted Goal.com's Zac Lee Rigg.
Panama has missed an open chance and hit the post within the last few minutes. El Tri no where near in control.— Zac Lee Rigg (@zacrigg) July 8, 2013
One play made you realize just how dangerous Mexico can be, though, as Marco Fabian leveled the score two minutes into injury time in the first half.
Fabian did a great job of timing his run and staying onside as he chested down a ball over the top of the defense from Israel Jimenez. Fabian brought it down quickly and finished with his right foot before Jaime Penedo could react.
FOX Soccer tweeted out a replay of the goal.
GOAL Mexico! Marco Fabian equalizes against Panama just before halftime. See it: - http://t.co/klaoEWJ7sT— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 8, 2013
Mexican football expert Tom Marshall gave a lot of credit to Jimenez for the assist.
Israel Jimenez - having a nightmare so far - with a great ball for Fabian.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) July 8, 2013
It was a nice goal for Mexico and completely undid everything they had done badly in the first half. Goal's Eric Gomez correctly points out that Panama should have built themselves a multi-goal advantage.
Panama could be winning by a score of 3-1. They missed a pair of huge chances and Fabian made them pay.— Eric Gómez (@goaleric) July 8, 2013
Mexico being Mexico, they wasted little time erasing all of their progress.
Three minutes into the second half, Panama went ahead, 2-1, courtesy of Torres. Quintero sent in a cross from the left that Torres flicked in with his right from close range. It was shocking marking from Mexico, as Torres ran into the box and got a foot to the cross without any El Tri defender getting in his way. Give credit to Torres, though, for making the run and finishing it off.
FOX Soccer tweeted out a highlight of the goal.
Watch as Torres scored his second goal to give Panama the lead over Mexico: - http://t.co/xFxsVDuLGW— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 8, 2013
After the goal, Mexico fell right back into their shell. They didn't take any major risks and allowed Panama to take control of the match and kill it off late.
This was an historic victory for Panama, per Marshall.
Panama minutes away from defeating Mexico for the first time in its history.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) July 8, 2013
The future for de la Torre is very much in doubt now, and Marshall feels that there have been plenty of El Tri managers who wouldn't have survived as long as "Chepo."
It's the Gold Cup, it's a 2nd team, but Mexico managers in the past have been sacked for less than what has happened in the last 6 months.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) July 8, 2013
Beyond the Pitch thinks the axe may be coming very soon.
Chepo is going to need the "Escape from LA" eye patch and soundtrack now ... the birds are circling— Beyond the Pitch (@BeyondthePitch) July 8, 2013
McCarthy reported that de la Torre had to deal with the fans throwing things at him at the end of the match.
Chepo leaves the field under a hail of flying projectiles. Another setback for his tenure. How much longer can he survive? #GoldCuponFOX— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) July 8, 2013
With this result, Group A is definitely up for grabs. Martinique and Panama hold the advantage, but either could easily be knocked off by the time the group finishes up.
Mexico remain just as big a mess as they were coming in. Something needs to be done, and even though it's only a year out before the World Cup, it may be time to find a new manager.