Some would've thought it was impossible for Mexico's troubled year to take a turn for the worse, but on Sunday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., the impossible came to life.
In their opening match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, El Tri fell to Panama, 2-1, thanks to a brace from Gabriel Torres. Marco Fabián notched the lone Mexican goal.
Torres, who plays for Venezuelan club Zamora FC, opened the scoring with a penalty in the 7th minute, after Mexico's Raúl Jiménez brought down Alberto Quintero in the box.
Fabián then equalized in first-half stoppage time, collecting a chipped pass from Israel Hernández and beating Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime Penedo with his shot.
But Torres had the last word, in the 48th minute, beating Jonathan Orozco at the near post with a right-footed shot.
The Mexicans pressed for much of the rest of the match, but were unable to break through.
The loss is another blow to Mexico, who have struggled to impose themselves in the CONCACAF Hexagonal of World Cup qualifying. After the match, a phalanx of media awaited Mexico coach José Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre, who is now under even more pressure amid calls from some quarters for his firing.
''We have to analyze the situation and come back in better form and look to get to the next round,'' de la Torre said. ''The main objective is to qualify for the World Cup. Of course, we also have this objective to try and get this Gold Cup title.''
Mexico are now in third place in Group A, while Panama are at the top.
El Tri next take on Canada, who were stunned by Martinique in their opening match, in Seattle on Thursday. Panama face the island nation the same day.