Friday, December 1, 2023

Mexico’s El Tri reaches CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals

Mexico’s national soccer team has reached the semifinals of the Concacaf Gold Cup with a confident 2-0 win over Costa Rica in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday. 

Victory sees El Tri, the Mexican national team’s nickname, take a big step forward in their quest for the North American continental championship, despite a challenging run of form that saw manager Diego Cocca fired after just seven games.

Orbelín Pineda
AEK Athen’s Orbelín Pineda, left, opened the scoring with a cool penalty into the center of the net. (Twitter)

Costa Rica had the stronger start, including excellent opportunities in the 9th and 20th minutes, although they were not able to capitalize on a dominant first half, largely thanks to the heroics of Salernita goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who consistently denied Los Ticos the chance to take the lead. 

Orbelín Pineda opened the scoring after 52 minutes with an assured penalty that sent the crowd at the AT&T Stadium wild after Costa Rica’s Kendall Watson felled Herny Martín inside the box. 

The goal changed the dynamic of the game, with Mexico again coming close in the 69th minute, when a Luis Romo freekick sailed tantalizingly just above the crossbar.

Erick Sánchez secured the win at 87 minutes, slotting a second goal past Costa Rican keeper Kevin Chamorro after a run of play that saw El Tri test Chamorro several times at close range.

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa kept a clean sheet despite pressure from Costa Rica, in a performance sure to reassure Mexican fans. (MSMX/Twitter)

While this was a far cry from the Costa Rica team that topped their group in the 2014 World Cup, Mexico will be glad to have overcome the potential danger of the men who ranked third in the contest. This is especially true after the tepid 1-0 defeat to Qatar in the final group stage match, which saw a Mexican fan stabbed in a brawl that erupted in the stands after the final whistle.

Victory over Los Ticos means that El Tri have now won three and lost one of the four games since Jaime Lozano took interim charge in June.

The semifinal will see Mexico face Jamaica, who dispatched Guatemala 1-0 on Wednesday. The winner will play either the United States or Panama in the final, scheduled for July 16 in Los Angeles. 

Mexico and the United States have contested both of the last two Gold Cup finals, with the honors tied at one apiece. 

Mexico News Daily

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