After a massive 5-1 victory over minnows St-Kitts and Nevis in their opening game at the U-20 CONCACAF Championship the young Grenadiers who were crowned champions of the Caribbean last year quickly realized that they stepped into a new realm of CONCACAF football.
On February 18, the Americans dominated an overmatched but previously unbeaten Haitian team that looked like a shadow of the team that won the Caribbean title. The Yanks scored 3 unanswered goals in the second half to seal a 4-1 victory over Haiti. Interestingly, Haiti opened the score on a golazo by Kenley Dede against the run of play. However, the final outcome was never in question as throughout the match Haiti adopted a defensive stance with very few coordinated attacks.
Three days later, Panama aided by an unforgiven and clearly biased Honduran referee reminded the young Grenadiers that they were out of their league. The young Grenadiers quickly learnt the hard way that football in the CONCACAF region is not always about playing well. Tricks and prejudices are often more powerful than anything else. The Honduran referee did not take long to start throwing red cards at the Grenadier players. Three Haitian players were red carded and two penal calls were awarded to Panama.
The extra help from the referee was not needed by Panama which was likely to top the group even with a defeat but it added insult to injury for a Haitian team that was trying to save its pride.