Gold Cup: Canada look to take advantage of Mexico team that "has their backs against the wall"

Julian de Guzman with Canada

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of CSA

SEATTLE – If there’s one ray of optimism amidst the gloomy storm for the Canadian national team, it’s that their next opponent is a Mexican team that is in perhaps as vulnerable position as they can be.

With their first team not playing at the Gold Cup and after Mexico's first-ever loss to Panama, head coach José de la Torre faced a postgame grilling, with many people asking about his tenuous position as head of El Tri.

But after they trained at CenturyLink field on Tuesday, the Canadians said no matter what, any Mexican team is dangerous.

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“I think they’re going through a very difficult time so it’s a good chance for us to use that to our advantage, but at the same time I think it’s important for us to play our game and show that we still have football in us,” said midfielder Julian de Guzman. “Mexico right now has their backs against the wall, but I wouldn’t put it past them that they’re going to bring their best football out there.”

After a thoroughly disappointing 1-0 loss to Martinique on Sunday, nothing would help to restore a little pride and some confidence in the young players Canada are trying to groom than a good rebound performance against Mexico on Thursday here at CenturyLink Field (11 pm ET, Sportsnet World in Canada, Fox Soccer/UniMas in US).

With their 2-1 defeat to Panama, El Tri have done their part by giving Canada reason to believe that they will be playing a beatable team; and after the disappointment at the Rose Bowl, it’s a quick opportunity at redemption.

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“This is a chance for us to react after the result. This is a big test for the entire team too to see where we stand as a unit,” de Guzman said. “Mexico is a very tough rival but it’s also a good opportunity to stand up and bounce back against the difficult result against Martinique.”

National team captain and Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson didn’t train with the team on Tuesday, still not feeling well after picking up a stomach bug in Pasadena. Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Russell Teibert did train but didn’t make himself available to the media; interim head coach Colin Miller said he was feeling under the weather as well.