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Costa Rica comes back for draw, Mexico runs rampant against Cuba in Group A



Charlotte, NC- Late heroics and an offensive clinic were on display at Bank of America Stadium as Costa Rica and El Salvador tied 1-1 and Mexico thrashed Cuba 5-0 in the second round of matches in Group A.

Kickoff was delayed for 36 minutes due to lightning in the Charlotte area. Once play started, El Salvador looked like a different team to the one that was thrashed by Mexico on Sunday. Costa Rica controlled possession but El Salvador had the majority of chances and eventually took the lead just before halftime.

Rodolfo Zelaya curled a free kick from 25 yards out past the outstretched arms of Keylor Navas for El Salvador's first goal of the tournament.

Costa Rica was energized with the introduction of Bryan Ruiz in the second half but couldn't capitalize on its chances. The goal finally game deep into stoppage time when Allen Guevara found a streaking Randall Bernes who collected the ball and slotted it into the far corner. The final whistle was blown just a few seconds later leaving both teams with a point. 

Mexico made a loud statement in its Gold Cup credentials with a second-straight 5-0 victory, this time over the minnow Cuba.

Cuba managed to keep the game scoreless for the opening 36 minutes until Javier Hernandez broke the deadlock. Hernandez found space in the box and headed home a Mexican corner kick. The first half ended with Mexico dominating the game but only carrying a one-goal lead.

After the break, Cuba's defense broke down and Mexico ran rampant, scoring four goals. Giovani Dos Santos scored the first of his two goals with a simple tap in off a Pablo Barrera cross in the 63rd minute. The next goal came just two minutes later when Hernandez's cross was put in by Aldo De Negris.

It was a four-goal lead in the 68th minute when Dos Santos completed his brace with a laser shot from 10 yards out. Hernandez completed the rout just eight minutes after that with a simple finish from eight yards out.

Mexico finished the game with 27 shots and 15 corners as opposed to six shots and one corner for Cuba.

After the game, Mexican official Hector Gonzalez reiterated their story that the five players banned for testing positive for Clebuterol ingested the drug through contaminated meat. Gonzalez contacted the Mexican secretary of agriculture to look into what the players ate and when but admitted it might be difficult to pin point the exact point of ingestion. The five players will fly to Los Angeles tomorrow to undergo additional tests.

Team doctors denied Mexican medical staff gave the players the drugs. Doctors said Clebuterol, while illegal in Mexico, is common in the country and suggested that if most of the Mexican staff was tested the result would also be positive. Mexican national coach Jose Manuel de la Torre wouldn't address the doping allegations. 

Gonzalez also flatly denied El Salvador had a claim to overturn the result of Sunday's game in which some of the five suspended players played.


What did you think of tonight's games? Did Cuba deserve a point? Can anyone stop Mexico? How long before Cuba can become competitive in CONCACAF?

Share your thoughts below


  1. I truly respect all of your views, the outcome will be determined in the final 90 minutes of the tournament. Both teams have what it takes to bring forth a well anticipated final…I just hope it’s a good game for the sake of CONCACAF………..If Mexico routes Costa Rica and If the US doesn’t route Panama I would start worrying For the yanks though…if that indeed occurs I think my point will have been proven, lets see..

  2. chicarito= dempsey , Donovan is on the downslope while a few young mex players are close to their prime (gio, guardado, moreno). I would take US center mid (bradley-jones) and Howard.a draw on the wings. Mex has a much potent offense and on Mex-US game I’ll prefer being the Mexican defense since US lacks offense.

  3. Mexico has an attacking force that has demolished 2 teams 5-0….5-0!!!! No to mention the shots on goal(like what 27!!!!). Mexico doesn’t play like a “28th” ranked team. They are dangerous and have the star power to capitalize on any and every opportunity that comes there way.

    Before we start talking about out Kryptonite Mexico how about we try to thrash all the “minnows” in our group. If we put on a strong dominating performance against the canadians, Panamanians etc then we can hope to beat Mexico. They last time we met, we were greeted with a 5-0 and later with our A-team a 2-1 defeat. Since then Mexico has ust been improving……Tied with Spain, Beat Italy, beat france and beat Paraguay and to Add to that the two 5-0 thrashings in the gold cup. The match-up is going to be fierce and the chances on goal similar, but the difference between Mexico and the US is the ability to put away those chances, which at the moment, Mexico is executing very well.

  4. With all due respect don’t be so naive. Speak facts and you’re opinions will be considered. I respect Dempsey because he’s doing something great at a big level and consistently. That’s a fact. But throwing out Donovan and Bradley as better than Mexico? Mexico’s players work hard and get things done in big ways consistently overseas. That deserves a little more respect than an unfounded statement.

  5. Well the US has proved they can beat anyone when they took out Spain in Confeds. Fact is, anything can and will happen in soccer. But Mexico hung in there in both games to wait out two stubborn opponents in the first halves only to come out and score in the 2nd. That’s tactics my friend and not all teams have the patience and experience to wait out their opportunities like that.

  6. Actually Mexico has always dominated possession. Mexico’s problem has always been a reliable finisher … Which they now have in Hernandez. I challenge you to go back and look at the percentages of possession in their last 10 confrontations. All US had was the counter-attack, and that’s not a bad thing to have but don’t kid yourself about midfield battles.

  7. “Did Cuba deserve a point?”

    Wait…What? C’Mon Son! First Puerto Rico now Cuba?

    Cuba flat out STINKS! Did they deserve a point?

    Heck no!!!! They lost 5-0 are you kidding me?? Did they deserve a point??? A point for what?? Getting their butts kicked 5-nil???

    By any chance did you mean to say Costa Rica or El Salvador????

    Again, proofread. It’s very simple.

  8. Mexico definitely impressed with the late goal run, but they cannot play the same way against the US (assuming they both meet in the final). As donttreadonduece noted, they are not going to be able run freely through the US midfield and setup shop like they did all night against Cuba. Mexico was able to basically change their 4-1-2-1-2 (real tough to pin a formation on these guys as they have lots of movement and interchangeability) into an all out attack formation where only the CBs and (sometimes) Torrado were back. This created some real opportunities for counterattack that Cuba could not capitalize. The US would have made them pay. While Mexico definitely has the attacking players, they will probably need to think about inserting another CM to help Torrado when they play against the US. Either that or they need to switch to a 4-3-3 to try and keep some of the midfielders central to help out. If the US and Mexico meet in the final, it will be an interesting game to see of Mexico can play with the same width that they have been playing with and still contain the US counter. It will also be interesting to see if the US midfield can effectively limit the Mexican attack – because the US backline is not as good as it traditionally is. If you just let them set up shop and chase, Mexico will score.

  9. really? i’ll be impressed when mexico continues to play like this outside of the group stage. it’s suppose to play out like this, so far.

  10. You’ve NEVER played an official match vs “Chicharo” and maybe never played a Gio dos Santos in form the way he’s playing know.

    I honestly don’t think Donovan is as good as he was a couple years ago.

    If both teams make it, the final should be tense, intense, very high quality since both teams play better against quality opposition and I hope fun to watch!

  11. You are forgetting that “Chicharito” missed two clear chances and de Nigris was disallowed what would have been a 6-0 trouncing! Cuba missed one clear chance.

    Score should’ve been like 9-1!

  12. A prime example of this was the Copa America in Venezuela a few years ago when Argentina looked unstoppable (Messi was the rockstar of the tournament) and Brazil looked really sluggish, and then Brazil whomped Argentina 3-0 in the final. Nobody saw it coming.

  13. History, performance, and ranking all indicate that the U.S. and Mexico are two very evenly matched teams. It hasn’t changed much and it’s not a game I would put any money on.

    That said… to hear all these American fans wetting their pants in fear of Mexico is shameful.

  14. Sure they were weak teams but give Mexico credit for finishing their chances. I would go so far as to say that may be the biggest edge Mexico has over the US, they are much more clinical finishing their chances.

  15. Well said!

    And no one mentions that it may well come down to Bradley vs “Chepo”.

    As Mou said…’its tactics son, tactics’.

  16. Mexico has 10 goals in two games. Would the US score even half of that if they played Cuba and El Salvador? I doubt it.

  17. Before El Tri fans get too excited, do realize that Cuba is the world’s #81 team, while El Salvador is the #87 … while the Rich Coast is the #56. Possible QF opponent Honduras is the #43, possible SF opponent Jamaica is #55, and possible Finals opponent USA is #22 … Mexico is #28.

  18. I can’t stand Nike. I’d love to see Under Armour sign a contract with US Soccer. I doubt we will see that, though.

  19. I found their goal celebrations funny, as though they were beating up Brazil. The first one, I get. But 2, 3, and 4 were celebrated like they were WC final goals.


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