SANTA MONICA – Mexico, the favorite to win the Gold Cup, won their first match against El Salvador yesterday, and the USMNT, the second favorite to win, tied Panama on Saturday.
First, the USMNT took on Panama and had a pretty slow start. Neither team created any great chances at the beginning, and the first half ended in a scoreless draw.
The USMNT came back a little stronger in the second half, really getting it together in minute 50. Kelyn Rowe worked his way around a few defenders and crossed the ball to Dom Dwyernwho redirected it into the bottom corner of the net. With the USMNT up 1-0, Panama started to get down to business as well.
Just 10 minutes later, Panama got a goal of their own. Brad Guzan blocked Panama’s first shot on goal, but Miguel Camargo rebounded the ball and found the back of the net, tying the game up 1-1. After that, neither team was able to score again and the match ended in a tie.
Then, a couple days later, Mexico took on El Salvador. Despite playing without head coach Juan Carlos Osorio, they dominated.
Mexico got the scoring started early, with Marin heading the ball into the back of the net in just the eighth minute of the game.
Right after Mexico scored, El Salvador got down to business and came back with a goal. Just two minutes later, in minute 10, Bonilla received a cross in front of the goal and gently kicked it past the goalkeeper, to tie the game up 1-1.
Unfortunately for El Salvador, that was the last goal they scored. Mexico, however, was just getting started.
In minute 29 Mexico took the lead once again. This time, Elias Hernandez received a beautiful cross and and slid the ball into the back of the net, putting Mexico up 2-1.
Then, after the half, Mexico came back and made their lead even more decisive. In minute 55, Orbelin Pineda took advantage of an essentially open goal and easily tapped the ball into the far right corner. This put Mexico up 3-1, a score that would last for the duration of the match.
Next up, the USMNT will take on Martinique on Wednesday at 6:00, while Mexico will face off against Jamaica on Thursday at 7:30.
Photos by ISI.