DENVER, Colo. (June 19, 2019) – Mexico have punched their ticket to the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup knockout stage. Behind a goal from Andres Guardado, El Tri ran circles around Canada on Wednesday night at Mile High Stadium. In the proverbial undercard match, Martinique impressed against Cuba.
Gold Cup Group A Matchday 2: Andres Guardado Sends Mexico to Knockouts
Mexico came out on fire from the first minute of this game. It just took them 40 minutes to get on the score sheet. They swarmed Canada with plenty of time on the ball in the final third, they just couldn’t get space inside the box. Meanwhile, the Canucks came out very defensive, eventually switching to a 5-3-2 to try and pass out of their own half.
Roberto Alvarado got Mexico on the board in the 40th minute. Raul Jimenez was denied on a shot off a cross by Milan Borjan. The rebound went straight to Alvarado who smashed off the crossbar and in.
Mexico swarmed after that, as Canada looked shell-shocked. Andres Guardado scored a golazo in the 54th minute. He collected the ball at the top of the box, set up his shot, and uncorked a screamer that hit the top left corner to make it 2-0.
The Canadians showed life when Lucas Cavallini scored on a great run and setup by Jonathan David. Mexico responded immediately with some great passing that led to Guardado chipping the keeper, off the post and in. The match ended 3-1.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME ANDRES GUARDADO?! ???
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 20, 2019
Kevin Fortune dominates Cuba:
In the earlier match, Martinique got a needed 3-0 win over Cuba. The match was fairly even in the first half, with Cuba arguably getting the better of the chances. Les Matinino settled down, especially in the middle channel and found success on set pieces. They scored on a corner in the final minute of the first half.
They went on to dominate in the second half, having a goal called back for a foul and creating a bunch of chances. Fortune got a second assist of the night on another header goal off a corner, then scored himself in the 84th minute on a counter to make it 3-0. The team settled down after they were able to play with the lead.
No stars, still lots of quality with Andres Guardado: Tata Martino is missing some of the usual stars for this tournament for various reasons. Still, Mexico have dominated both of their games so far. Even with the finishing not quit there, they’ve created a bunch of chances. They might not have an obvious go-to striker in this squad, but they should still be considered a favorite to win it all.
Canada still in a good position: Canada’s had one great game and one poor game. Still, they control their destiny. They have the advantage on Martinique on goal differential. Their final match of the group is against Cuba, who are already eliminated and clearly the worst team. They should be heavy favorites to win that game and thus advance to the knockout rounds.
But Martinique will make them earn it: Martinique and Canada are tied on points. If they can somehow get a result against Mexico or at least play them close, they’ll be making Canada sweat against Cuba. CONCACAF is still pretty stratified, but this team has been one of the more fun (and higher quality) minnows in the last two tournaments.