FRISCO, Texas -- Duckens Nazon scored a dramatic late equalizer to give Haiti a 1-1 Group A draw in the opening match of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup at Toyota Stadium on Tuesday.
Defending champion United States beat Honduras 1-0 in the second game of the doubleheader later in the evening.
The 21-year-old Nazon struck in the 86th minute, receiving the ball down the right flank, twice turning Panama’s Harold Cummings and putting a low shot inside the far post from eight-yards out.
Panama, the 2013 runner-up, took a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute, when Alberto Quintero capitalized on a defensive mistake to break the scoreless stalemate. Reginal Goreux missed on an attempted clearance and the Lobos BUAP midfielder put his shot inside the far post from just beyond the penalty box.
Both teams had plenty of chances to find the back of the net and walk away with three points.
The Panamanians had more possession and the better scoring chances in a scoreless first half. After Jean Marc Alexandre was booked – the first of four first-half yellow cards – Anibal Godoy put his 26-yard free kick wide of the target.
Luis Tejada, MVP of the 2005 Gold Cup, tried to find the net in spectacular fashion on two occasions, but the veteran striker was unable to beat goalkeeper Johny Placide on a pair of bicycle kicks.
Haiti threatened on the counter. James Marcelin crafted the best opportunity in the 12th minute only to miss from distance.
Quintero had Panama’s best scoring chance of the first half from 24-yards out, forcing Placide to dive right to parry it away for a corner kick in the 43rd minute.
Panama’s Adolfo Machado thwarted a Haitian attempt to equalize by making a goal-line clearance off Jeff Louis’ chip past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo from close range.
Blas Perez was denied an insurance goal in the 72nd minute as Placide pushed his effort from 16-yards out over the crossbar in the 72nd minute.
The teams resume Group A action on Friday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Panama faces Honduras, while Haiti will take on the United States.