71113_delatorre_isi_usmntmj062511116 Michael Janosz/isiphotos.com
Gold Cup Preview

It's a Must-Win Match for Both Mexico and Canada

CenturyLink Field hosts a game between two of CONCACAF's better squads. That noise you hear is Chepo de la Torre encouraging his troops to play their hearts out. Jon Arnold with a preview.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
July 11, 2013
6:23 PM
Unexpected losses on the opening day of the Gold Cup have both the United States’ North American rivals reeling ahead of their crucial meeting Thursday in Seattle.

The loser when Mexico takes on Canada at CenturyLink Field in both sides’ second Group A match will be in real danger of missing out on the tournament’s knock-out stages, an eyebrow-raising possibility for two of the three winners in the competition’s history.

With Panama and Martinique already on three points, and with at least one of them guaranteed to add to that total tonight, not getting a victory could spell the end for either Mexico or Canada, even with the Gold Cup’s forgiving format that puts all but four teams into the knockout stages.

Mexico coach Chepo de la Torre hasn’t been able to guide his team to success thus far in the Hex and stumbled through the Confederations Cup. Despite the fact that this Gold Cup team is made up of promising Liga MX players, many of whom had a gold medal around their neck just one summer ago, it didn’t show much promise against Panama. There was some irony that Israel Jiminez and Marco Fabian hooked up for El Tri’s lone goal in the 2-1 loss, as both players performed well below expectations during the rest of the match, as did the captain, Joel Huiqui.

The pressure is even higher than usual for the guys in green. “Wake up, already!” urged Mexican sports daily Récord, while Cancha tells Chepo his time has run out and winning tonight’s game is urgent.

There isn’t as strong of a media push up North, and interim coach Colin Miller knows his time at the helm runs out after this tournament. However, Miller would still like to guide a Canada team, one in desperate need of a boost for its future after a humiliating World Cup qualifying exit, to the knockout rounds. Like its opponents, Canada looked listless in defeat, but things have managed to get even worse. MLS duo Russell Teibert and Will Johnson, who were among the few bright spots in a 1-0 loss to Martinique, are both ill. Johnson is out against Mexico while Teibert is a doubt. Forward Simeon Jackson has also left the team to work out his club situation.

If results go the right way, the winner could go on to win the group, but that doesn’t seem too likely with Panama eagerly eying the quarterfinals. More likely, at least, is that the loser will be bounced from the tournament. It’s early, but this is a must-win contest between two teams that have found three points hard to come by.

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