The Gold Cup heats up as Mexico takes on El Salvador in the last Group A match before the knockout stage.
With 2-0 wins over both Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala, El Salvador has clinched a quarterfinal berth. The Group A leaders are playing for seeding against a Mexico team that was the soccer betting favorite to win the Gold Cup pre-tournament in the online sportsbook.
After dominating Trinidad and Tobago but playing to a 0-0 draw, Mexico finally got on the board and defeated Guatemala 3-0. Mexico is very likely to make the quarterfinals regardless of the outcome of the match, but a win would mean first place in the group.
Game: Mexico vs El Salvador
Location: Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Tx
Time: July 18, 10 P.M. ET
Head to Head
Mexico has historically dominated the all-time series, with 29 wins to El Salvador’s four. Mexico has won the last seven meetings by a combined scoreline of 22-4, dating to 2009.
Mexico and El Salvador have played to just one draw, which came in a 1979 friendly. These teams last met in the 2017 Gold Cup as Mexico cruised to a 3-1 win.
Mexico Back on Track After Disappointing Opener
Rogelio Funes Mori, the Argentinian born Mexico striker, led El Tri with two goals in its 3-0 win over Guatemala. Funes Mori’s inclusion in the Gold Cup squad over Javier Hernandez caused controversy in Mexico but he has repaid Tata Martino’s confidence in him.
Funes Mori got eight shots off against Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico had 30 as a whole, but none found the back of the net. The game finished as a shocking 0-0 draw. Against Guatemala, he was clinical and put in a beautiful curling strike after cutting back on his right foot in the 29th minute.
Not many people would have expected Mexico to take nearly two hours of play to score its first goal in the Gold Cup. But, Funes Mori doubled Mexico’s tally early in the second half. Orbelin Pineda, who assisted Funes Mori’s second goal, added another insurance goal in the 79th minute.
Mexico once again dominated possession and didn’t allow Guatemala good chances. While Mexico would have expected to take all six points from its opening two games, two clean sheets to open the tournament is a good consolation.
El Salvador Makes History
El Salvador won its opening two Gold Cup matches for the first time in 12 Gold Cup appearances. With its 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador became the first team in the tournament to clinch a quarterfinals berth.
Midfielder Jairo Henriquez scored an excellent opening goal in the 30th minute, which was his first international goal. Henriquez received the ball outside of the box, turned an El Salvador defender and put a low shot past Trinidad and Tobago keeper Nicklas Frenderup.
El Salvador outshot Trinidad and Tobago 19-8 but there were some uncomfortable moments. In the 66th minute, Trinidad striker Marcus Joseph got on the end of a cross and hit the crossbar. In the 90th minute, El Salvador sealed the game as Walmer Martinez got on the end of a rebounded shot.
A win or draw over Mexico in this match would ensure that El Salvador finishes first in Group A, which is easier said than done.
Mexico has scored three goals in each of its last three matches vs El Salvador. El Tri has created a bunch of chances in the tournament so far and I don’t expect that to change in a match where Mexico needs to win to clinch first place in the group.