Mexico maintained their run in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Thursday with a 1-0 win over Honduras in the quarterfinal round at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
It was a game full of crunching tackles from the opening whistle, before opening up considerably in the second half. The game's lone goal came just four minutes in, with Rodolfo Pizarro finishing a good buildup with a tap-in at the far post for El Tri.
Mexico advance to the semifinal, where they will have a rematch with Group C counterpart Jamaica on Sunday at the Rose Bowl.
- 4' – MEX – Rodolfo Pizarro
- FEISTY ENCOUNTER: A prevailing opinion about this edition of the Gold Cup is that many of the top teams have put in lackluster performances. While one can still make a case for that based on this match, the knockout nature of the game gave it extra passion, and these teams engaged in battle from the beginning. While there were no red cards or penalties issued, and it appears the biting issues that plagued El Salvador in their game Wednesday against the US did not spread, this match had a very stop-start tempo from all the crunching challenges and things didn't really settle down until the second half. Considering the raised stakes, expect physical play to be the norm the rest of the tournament.
- QUESTIONS REMAIN FOR VICTORS: Speaking of the lackluster performances, Mexico's largely followed the blueprint of the US in their quarterfinal win: Post the win, get the shutout, but allow the opposition plenty of chances in the second half to keep everyone on edge. There are signs that this El Tri roster is starting to figure a few things out, and while they remain favorites against Jamaica in the semifinal, there is a seed of doubt that a good gameplan and performance by an opponent could deliver a fatal blow to the defending champion. Remember, Mexico and Jamaica played to a 0-0 draw in the group stage, so Sunday's game may turn out to be tougher than many anticipate.
- TOUGH RUN FOR CATRACHOS: Of the many odd storylines in this Gold Cup so far, Honduras' run is up there. They only allowed two goals in the tournament, but did not physically score any goals themselves in any of their four games -- their three official goals came via forfeit win against French Guiana. While being knocked out by Mexico in the quarterfinal isn't a bad outcome for Honduras all things considered, their play in this tournament was poor throughout, and it may ultimately raise more questions than answer them for Jorge Luis Pinto ahead of the homestretch of the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying.
Mexico (4-3-3, left to right): #1 Jesus Corona -- #18 Jesus Gallardo, #4 Hugo Ayala, #3 Jair Pereira, #6 Edson Alvarez -- #15 Rodolfo Pizarro (91', #17 Raul Lopez), #5 Jesus Molina (65', #2 Luis Rodriguez), #20 Jesus Duenas --#7 Orbelin Pineda, #19 Angel Sepulveda (75', #9 Erick "Cubo" Torres), #11 Elias Hernandez
Honduras (4-2-3-1, left to right): #1 Luis Lopez -- #23 Carlos Sanchez (46', #14 Boniek Garcia), #3 Maynor Figueroa, #4 Henry Figueroa, #2 Felix Crisanto -- #5 Ever Alvarado, #8 Alfredo Mejia -- #12 Romell Quioto, #6 Bryan Acosta (68' #13 Sergio Pena), #17 Alberth Elis -- #16 Ovidio Lanza (73', #10 Alex Lopez)
- MEX: Sunday, July 23 vs. Jamaica (9 pm ET | FS1, Univision, UDN)
- HON: Eliminated