Mexico vs. Canada
July 11, 2013, 11 pm ET
CenturyLink Field, Seattle
Watch on FOX Soccer/UniMas, Sportsnet World in Canada
Two struggling teams meet in Seattle on Thursday, with Canada and Mexico each still looking for their first points of the 2013 Gold Cup.
After a shocking 1-0 defeat to Martinique on Sunday, Canada have to somehow pick up results against either Mexico or Panama if they want to keep their chances of advancing alive. Meanwhile, after their surprising loss to Panama, Mexico come up against a bare-bones Canadian team that has seen several players leave the squad for a number of reasons.
The last time Canada played Mexico in a Gold Cup, it was one of the few iconic moments in the Canadian men’s game. It was in the 2000 Gold Cup that Canada forced extra time with a 1-1 draw at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego before Richard Hastings’ golden goal (the only goal he’d ever score for Canada) stunned the Mexicans. Canada went onto win that Gold Cup, but little else since. Since then the countries have met four times, with Mexico winning twice and the teams playing to two draws.
As a result of that opening-game loss, the odds are against the Canucks and the situation is grim. Interim coach Colin Miller must somehow rally a squad that’s already lost two attacking players in Randy Edwini-Bonsu and Simeon Jackson due to injury and club responsibilities, while veteran Will Johnson is still battling the illness that limited his contributions in Sunday’s game.
Though not quite as bleak as Canada, El Tri come into this game in a pretty desperate situation with head coach José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre’s tenuous grasp on his job growing weaker with each disappointing result for the team. While World Cup qualifying is the priority, a draw or a loss to a rebuilding Canadian program will only further exacerbate his situation.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Canada – Marcus Haber
There aren’t many options in the Canadian attack, and they’re going to need Haber to be clinical with the few opportunities they do create. If the Canadians are to grab a goal, it will likely come from a set piece, and with Haber (right, in white) standing at least several inches over the Mexican defenders, he’ll have to use his height to full advantage and bury the first chance he gets.
Mexico – Raúl Jiménez
Blessed with an abundance of speed, Jiménez has the ability to break down a Canadian backline that had issues dealing with the Martinique attack. The Club América man is trying to carve himself out more time in the Mexican squad and he’ll have to like his chances to impress against Canada.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jonathan Orozco (Monterrey/Mexico), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca/Mexico), Moisés Muñoz (Club América/Mexico).
DEFENDERS (10): Israel Jiménez (Tigres UANL/Mexico), Leobardo López (Monterrey/Mexico), Joel Huiqui (Morelia/Mexico), Dárvin Chávez (Monterrey/Mexico), Adrián Aldrete (Club América/Mexico), Efraín Velarde (Pumas UNAM/Mexico), Juan Carlos Valenzuela (Club América/Mexico), Miguel Layún (Club América/Mexico), Jair Pereira (Cruz Azul/Mexico), Alejandro Castro (Cruz Azul/Mexico).
MIDFIELDERS (5): Carlos Peña (Club León/Mexico), Javier Cortes (Pumas UNAM/Mexico), Luis Montes (Club León/Mexico), Jorge Enríquez (CD Guadalajara/Mexico), Miguel Ponce (CD Guadalajara/Mexico).
FORWARDS (5): Raúl Jiménez (Club América/Mexico), Marco Fabián (CD Guadalajara/Mexico), Rafael Márquez Lugo (CD Guadalajara/Mexico), Isaác Brizuela (Toluca/Mexico), Javier Orozco (Santos Laguna/Mexico).
GOALKEEPERS (3): Lars Hirschfeld (Vålerenga/Norway), Milan Borjan (Sivasspor/Turkey), Simon Thomas (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
DEFENDERS (7): Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC), David Edgar (Burnley/England), Adam Straith (unattached), Marcel de Jong (Augsburg/Germany), Nik Ledgerwood (Hammarby/Sweden).
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kyle Bekker (Toronto FC), Julian de Guzman (unattached), Samuel Piette (Fortuna Dusseldorf/Germany), Pedro Pacheco (Santa Clara/Portugal), Will Johnson (Portland Timbers), Issey Nakajima-Farran (Alki/Cyprus), Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC), Keven Aleman (Real Valladolid/Spain).
FORWARDS (3): Tosaint Ricketts (Sandnes Ulf/Norway), Marcus Haber (Stevenage/England), Kyle Porter (D.C. United).