1) Mission accomplished for Mexico.
Miguel Herrera is breathing sigh of relief right now after Mexico conquered its 7th Gold cup title. It was an odd competition for Mexico, full of controversies and small spells of good futbol. At the end of the day, though, it was always about bringing the title back to Mexico. Despite injuries to key players, Miguel Herrera managed to find a way for this team to finish as champions.
Mexico obtained their 7th Gold Cup title in its history with a 3-1 victory over Jamaica at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night.
Andres Guardado opened the scoring in the 31st minute before Jesus “Tecatito” Corona made it two just after the break.
In the 61st minute, Oribe Peralta capitalized on a mistake from Jamaican defender Michael Hector to score Mexico’s third of the night.
Jamaica pulled one goal back with 10 minutes to go, but it was too little too late as El Tri held on to a convincing 3-1 victory.
From the start, Jamaica looked equal to the task of playing Mexico and controlled possession of the ball for the first 15 minutes.
But the first legitimate opportunity to score came from the Mexican side when in the 19th minute Jesus “Tecatito” Corona forced the Jamaican goalkeeper to a goal-denying save with a nice header.
Tecatito, who was starting in place of the suspended Carlos Vela, came close to scoring again 10 minutes later after he dribbled his way inside the box and sent a shot sailing just inches above the crossbar.
In the 31st minute, following a free-kick situation, Paul Aguilar sent a floating cross into the box and Andres Guardado was there to volley home and put Mexico in front.
Two minutes after the break, Tecatito snatched the ball from a Jamaican defender and buried a left footed shot past Ryan Thompson to double the lead for El Tri.
The Reggae Boyz looked rattled and it didn’t take long for Mexico to get a third. After Michael Hector failed to clear the ball, Oribe Peralta grabbed the ball and fired into the back of the net to send Mexico on their way.
Jamaica managed to get one goal back in the 80th minute through Vancouver Whitecaps forward Darren Mattocks, but the goal arrived too late for Winfried Schäfer’s side.
With the result, Mexico earned the right to play the USMNT for a spot at the 2017 Confederations cup in playoff match to be played on October 9th.
When Andres Guardado fired home with his left foot from the penalty spot to score the equalizer for Mexico against Panama, the thought that occurred in most people’s mind was that the ref was following the same script from a few days ago.
In East Rutherford, Mexico needed 120 minutes and a dodgy penalty to snatch a late victory against Costa Rica. In Atlanta, once again Mexico required another controversial late penalty to force extra time and eventually win the game.
Understandably, the backlash came loud and hard. It came from all sides of North America and the world.
But on the field, Mexico have a lot more issues to worry about. Miguel Herrera’s side has lacked attacking innovations throughout the tournament and have looked predictable on the final third.
On the defensive side of the ball, things haven’t got any better and they have occasionally been made looked uneasy by opposing attackers.
To make matters worse for Miguel Herrera, Carlos Vela will miss the game due to suspension and several players are dealing with nagging injuries and fatigue.
Meanwhile, Jamaica arrive to this game as the surprise team of the tournament. The Reggae Boyz took down favorites USMNT and became the first Caribbean team to reach a Gold Cup final.
For them, Sunday could be a date with history, and led by charismatic manager Winfried Schäfer, lifting the trophy would make them instant heroes back home.
The thing about finals is that at the end of the day only one team will have its name in bold letters, and while all the controversies and allegations tend to stick around for a while, most only remember the name on the trophy.
From the start, this was Mexico’s goal all along. The pressure was always on them to win, and despite all the debate, they are still on the path towards achieving their goal.
But in the process, Jamaica became everybody’s team. The Reggae Boyz have nothing to lose on Sunday, and with a win, more than Jamrock will be celebrating at night.
– Probable Lineups
Jamaica: Ryan Thompson; Adrian Mariappa, Michael Hector, Westley Morgan, Kemar Lawrence; Garath McCleary, Je-Vaughn Watson, Rudolph Austin, Joel McAnuff; Darren Mattocks and Giles Barnes
Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa; Paul Aguilar, Francisco Rodriguez, Diego Reyes, Oswaldo Alanis, Miguel Layun; Jesus Duenas, Andres Guardado, Jonathan Dos Santos; Jesus “Tecatito” Corona and Oribe Peralta
Where to watch: Sunday, July 26, 7:30pm EST, Fox Sports 1 and Univision and Univision Deportes Network
1) Mexico were poor.
Independently of how the match turned out, Mexico were disastrous. Like against Guatemala, Mexico looked one-dimensional and predictable. One can even argue that the red card did more harm than good for Mexico. Panama started the game with spells of possession here and there, but gradually were forced to lend Mexico the ball. In turn, El Tri failed to conjure up anything special. While Panama held their tactical spine together, Mexico looked poor.Read More
In a match full of high-tension, the Mexico national team clinched a spot in the Gold Cup final with a 2-1 extra time win over Panama on Wednesday night.
Roman Torres opened the scoring for Los Canaleros, but Andres Guardado scored twice from the penalty spot as El Tri earned a shot at the Gold Cup title game on Sunday against Jamaica.
Tensions erupted midway through the first-half when Luis Tejada was sent off by referee Mark Geiger for a foul on Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez.
After taking the lead through Roman Torres early in the second half, tensions flared again in the 88th minute when the ref pointed at the penalty spot for a handball on one of the Panamanian defenders.
Members of the Panama national team rushed at the referee and threatened to leave the game.
Despite the delay, the game resumed, with Andres Guardado calmly slotting home the equalizer for Mexico.
In extra time, Panama conceded a second penalty. The same Andres Guardado stepped up and finished with his left foot to give Mexico the win.
Mexico will now face Jamaica in the Gold Cup final game on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.