On the first day of Gold Cup action Mexico and Costa Rica confirmed what many already knew: they’re the class of group A.
With a pair of 5-0 wins, Costa Rica and Mexico put on dominant showings – in Mexico’s case for 45 minutes – getting both teams off to a great start in their quest for CONCACAF dominance.
Costa Rica dispatches Cuba
Costa Rica got the first of the 5-0 results in emphatic fashion. Los Ticos got a standout performance from Gold Cup debutant Marcos Urena who opened the scoring in the 6th minute with the first of his two goals on the night.
Cuba – a big underdog coming in – fought hard following the opening goal before conceding a goal just before the half to Alvaro Saborio in the 41st minute. The goal stole any momentum Cuba could have taken into the locker room and set them up for a rough second half.
Costa Rica added three more in the second half to send a message to the rest of group A that they’re a force to reckon with going forward.
Mexico takes advantage of superior second half
While Costa Rica dominated their opponent from the first kick, El Tri struggled to get going against El Salvador before scoring 5 second half goals in the second match of the night. The first half was disjointed and the Mexicans had trouble imposing their will. Struggling to break down the El Salvador defense found themselves in a 0-0 fight at the half.
But the second half brought a much different look as Mexico put their foot on the pedal early and by minute 60 El Tri had put the
game away with 3 quick goals. Efrain Juarez got Mexico on the board in front of the 80,000 plus that showed up by heading a deflected shot into the net. The Celtic man seemed to catch a break when the ball rebounded off his head as he fell to the ground after making the initial shot.
The goal opened the floodgates and was followed up by a goal from second half sub Aldo de Nigris’ in the 58th minute. The goal preceded a closing hat trick from Manchester United starlet Chicharito who put his stamp on the win.
While the tournament favorites took their time in revving up their attacking engine, the reigning champions showed in the second half the goal scoring potential they possess.
Mexico and Costa Rica swap opponents Thursday in Charlotte, NC before a much anticipated showdown next Sunday in Chicago.
Monday will bring group B action with Jamaica – who lost the services of Omar Cummings and Tyrone Marshall this weekend – facing Grenada and Honduras taking on Guatemala.