A hat trick from an unlikely source, LA Galaxy winger Uriel Antuna, paced Mexico to a 7-0 cruise over Cuba in the countries' Group A opener at the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup on Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Entering the tournament as favorites under new manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino, Mexico were on the board just two minutes in, as Antuna, the final man on Mexico's roster, cleaned up a rebound off the post to score his first senior-team goal for his country.
The second goal came towards the end of the first half from Raul Jimenez, and then Diego Reyes scored off a set piece, before Antuna notched his second of the night and his El Tri career just before halftime.
Jimenez stroked home his second goal of the game just after the hour mark, and following that Antuna set up substitute Alexis Vega, who opened his Mexico account with a tap-in. Then Antuna completed his hat trick in the 80th minute to cap off a banner night.
- 2' – MEX – Uriel Antuna
- 31' – MEX – Raul Jimenez
- 38' – MEX – Diego Reyes
- 44' – MEX – Uriel Antuna
- 64' – MEX – Raul Jimenez
- 74' – MEX – Alexis Vega
- 80' – MEX – Uriel Antuna
- THE BIG PICTURE: Mexico entered the tournament with some questions, given many of their stars could not or would not feature at this Gold Cup. While they were expected to beat Cuba with ease, putting a marker down with seven goals gets them off to a good start and quiets some of those concerns. For Cuba, it's a matter of looking ahead to the next two games to see if they can pick themselves up.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: You never forget your first goal, and Antuna had two more to savor, but his first effectively set the tone for the game right away.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Jimenez had a brace and was involved in setting up three more goals, but he was expected to play a big role for El Tri. Antuna, on the other hand, entered this roster with house money, and a hat trick (and an assist) will likely put him in line for more playing time in the coming games.
- MEX: Wednesday, June 19 vs. Canada (10:30 pm ET | FS1, Univision, UDN; TSN1/4/5 in Canada) | Gold Cup
- CUB: Wednesday, June 19 vs. Martinique (8 pm ET | FS1, UDN; TSN4 in Canada) | Gold Cup