CONCACAF Gold Cup Preview: USA vs Mexico - 08/01/2021

by Alec McMordie

Sunday CONCACAF Gold Cup Finals Preview: Mexico versus the USA.

The knockout stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup concludes on Sunday with the championship match between Mexico and the United States. The game is on FS1 at 8:30 PM ET. Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas is the site.

Mexico advanced to the finals with their 2-1 victory against Canada in the semifinals on Thursday. Orbelin Pineda got El Tri on the scoreboard in the second minute of stoppage time in the first half. Les Rouges leveled the score in the 12th minute into the second half with Tajon Buchanan’s goal. The match appeared destined for a 30-minute extra period before Hector Herrera scored the dramatic game-winning goal in the ninth minute of stoppage time in the second half. 

El Tri reached the semifinals with a 3-0 victory against Honduras on Saturday. Rogelio Funes Mori opened the scoring with a goal in the 26th minute. Jonathan dos Santos added a second goal five minutes later. Pineda gave Mexico their final goal seven minutes later. 

Manager Gerardo Martino’s group won Group B with a 1-0 victory against El Salvador in their final group stage match. Mexico opened their defense of the 2019 Gold Cup title with a 0-0 draw with Trinidad and Tobago. They followed that up with a 3-0 victory against Guadeloupe. El Tri has scored nine goals and had not conceded a goal in their first four matches before Canada blemished their perfect defensive record on Thursday. 

Martino has assembled most of the nation’s top players to compete in this event. The notable exceptions on the roster were forwards Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Raul Jimenez, and goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. Mexico lost for Napoli forward Hirving “Chucky” Lozano for the tournament after incurring a head injury in the opening match against Trinidad and Tobago. Mexico is led by Porto forward Jesus Corona, Atletico Madrid midfielder Hector Herrera, and Ajax defender Edson Alvarez. El Tri is ranked 11th in the world by FIFA. The ELO ratings place them 15th. 

The US Men’s National Team advanced to the finals with their victory against Qatar in their semifinal match on Thursday. Gyasi Yardes scored the lone goal for the Americans in the 86th minute. 

The Stars and Stripes beat Jamaica, 1-0, in the quarterfinals last Sunday. That match was deadlocked until the 83rd minute when Matthew Hope scored the lone goal for the Americans. The Yanks began the tournament with a 1-0 win against Haiti before a 6-1 thumping against Martinique in their second match. They got their lone goal from Shaquell Moore in the first minute against Canada to give the USMNT their third victory in their three group stage matches. The USMNT has scored ten times and conceded only one goal. 

Team USA claimed the CONCACAF Nations League title last month with a 3-2 victory in extra time against Mexico. This rematch offers the Stars and Stripes the opportunity to win the Gold Cup for the eighth time after last winning the first place trophy in 2017. They finished in second place to Mexico in the 2019 Gold Cup. Manager Gregg Berhalter is testing his B team at this event, with many of the players that lifted the trophy last month now training with their professional teams. Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna, Werner Bremen’s Josh Sargent, and Manchester City’s Zack Steffan did not compete. Nineteen of the 23 players on Berhalter’s roster play on an MLS squad, led by Orlando City striker Daryl Dike. The Yanks are on a 13-1-1 run in their last 15 matches. They have not lost on home soil since an upset loss to Venezuela in a friendly on June 9th, 2019. In their most recent 14 games in the United States, the USMNT has scored 50 goals and has conceded only five times, with ten clean sheets. FIFA ranks the USA at 20th in the world. The ELO ratings place them 22nd. 

MGM lists Mexico as a -0.5 goal line favorite with the total set at 2.5.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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