Mexico look to Gold Cup quarterfinals after victory clinches group
ESPN - Monday 17th July, 2017
Although the match was surprisingly frustrating, Mexico were able to sneak past Curacao with a 2-0 win Sunday night. Following goals from Angel Sepulveda and Edson Alvarez and the ensuing capture of three points, Mexico has finished at the top of Group C in the Gold Cup.
Looking ahead, El Tri will need to prepare for its upcoming quarterfinal clash against Honduras on Thursday in Phoenix.
Whether or not you agree with the tactics of Juan Carlos Osorio, one thing is certain: The man knows how to get results. After a much criticized group-stage run, the currently suspended manager has found a way to emerge with a spot in first place.
In net, there's also something to be said for goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona. Despite his 36 years of age, Corona was brilliant with his game-changing saves. If Osorio continues to give him minutes, Mexico might be able to continue clinching scrappy victories.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the back line was again a massive problem for Mexico. Starters such as Cesar Montes, Luis Reyes, Jair Pereira and Luis Rodriguez should have easily been able to avoid the amount of problems seen in defense.
Up top, there also needs to be a striker who takes charge. Against Curacao, Martin Barragan failed to show up for El Tri. In the previous match against Jamaica, Erick "Cubo" Torres was fairly quiet. Sepulveda might be the answer here, but he is better suited on one of the wings.
FW Raul Lopez, 8 -- When Mexico was desperate for more chances in the final third, Lopez stepped up with several dangerous and accurate crosses from distance. The winger, who later took charge as a right-back, finished with an assist on Sepulveda's goal.
FW Martin Barragan, 4 -- An ineffective performance. The striker mistimed several headers that could have helped Mexico find a more convincing victory.
FW Angel Sepulveda, 7 -- After scoring El Tri's first goal in the 22nd minute, Sepulveda appeared to wake up with more dangerous shots and opportunities.
FW Elias Hernandez, 7.5 -- Was substituted in for Rodriguez during the 57th minute. Given more time, Hernandez would have finished with at least one goal. The winger kicked off some much-needed momentum with his dribbles and shots on target.
MF Edson Alvarez, 7.5 -- Was substituted for Barragan in the 66th minute. Alvarez helped maintain possession as a defensive midfielder and later secured the three points with a goal during injury time.
FW Jesus Gallardo, N/A -- Was substituted for Pineda in the 74th minute.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.
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