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Mexico and Costa Rica run rampant on Gold Cup opening night

Mexico El Salvador 1 (Getty Images)



The Gold Cup got underway with a doubleheader in Texas on Sunday, and ten combined goals were scored in blowout victories by two of the tournament favorites.

Costa Rica opened the Gold Cup with a 5-0 rout of Cuba. Los Ticos took an early lead as Marco Urena scored his first of two goals on the day in the seventh minute of the Group A match. Heiner Mora, Joel Campbell and Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio also found the back of the net in the win that kept Costa Rica undefeated against Cuba in four Gold Cup meetings.

Mexico got off to a flying start in the tournament, too, with Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez leading the way with a hat-trick in a 5-0 thumping of El Salvador. After holding its own in a scorless first half, El Salvador broke down defensively, allowing Mexico to net three times in a span of five minutes. Efrain Juarez began that sequence, followed by a Jesus De Nigris finish and a Hernandez header.

Highlights from the two Group A games can be seen below:

Costa Rica 5-0 Cuba


Mexico 5-0 El Salvador



What do you think of Costa Rica and Mexico's wins? Which goal did you like the most? Is Cuba or El Salvador more likely to take third place in Group A?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. And the US, under Bradley, is not willing to play the game patiently enough to fight that. It’s all just hopeful long balls, picking up the scraps, and trying to get fouls in good positions so we can whip in set pieces.

    Like it or not, that is Bob Bradley for the first 70 minutes of a match. He only wants possession, link-up play, and numbers forward for the final 20 minutes.

  2. Wow, I think everyone is freaking out a little too much about Mexico’s 5-0 win over El Salvador. El Salvador’s last major soccer accomplishment was making the 1982 World Cup and then losing all three group games. Let’s not make this into anything more than it is….Mexico taking care of one of the “other” CONCACAF teams.

    If you want to look at past results to try and figure out who the favorite is for this Gold Cup final (assuming USA v Mexico), look at the games played on US soil over the last ten years when both teams fielded full sides….American domination.

    For those of you freaking out about Mexico’s superior ball skills and possession skills over the US, hasn’t that always been the case? The US wins with better organization, physical attributes, and composure in pressure filled situations. All of those things still apply.

    Let’s not start screaming that the sky is falling just because Mexico thrashed a world soccer minnow, and the US got thrashed by the world soccer champs. Have faith in our team because they have done nothing in the past decade against Mexico to make us think otherwise.

  3. Mexico has the potential to do things like this to minnows, that’s never been the problem. The problem with Mexico, IMHO, is consistency. Who knows how they’ll be playing in two weeks.

    That said, if we play them, we’ve got to close down that midfield better than El Salvador did. Master Sun instructs us to attack the supply to defeat the soldier. If we can’t stop Chicharito, we should attack his service.

  4. Mexico looked, last night and less recently, much more dangerous and organized than we have in our recent “tune-ups”. Gio, Little pea, Barrera, Guardado, Juarez…They all looked good.

    Sad to say, to beat them we will have to play our usual negative tactics and hope they don’t pounce on us with quality. We can do it, but I’m not feeling a surge in form in ANY of our players. Too bad we can’t get healthy against a team like Cuba. I’m not even confident we will play well against Canada.

  5. It is funny to see everyone going “no worries here, just El Salvador, they stink”…last I remember the US had to scratch out a draw at ESAL and had a squeaky 2-1 win at home.

    More concerning is that ESAL had a great game plan in the first half, bottled up Mexico, and then Chepo changed it up and Mexico completely destroyed that team. If Mexico gets coaching like that…look out. They figured out that they have speedy forwards and lobbed it up to them and scored 4 goals in 10 minutes. Last I checked USMNT does not have mobile or fast centerbacks. I cringe thinking of gimpy Gooch watching Chicharito streak by.

    Continue to thump “2 a 0” and that Mexico has not won with an A team in the US etc etc etc but that has squat to do with a potential USMNT-Mex final. Coaching does.

  6. That is true. But regardless, I doubt that many of us think that this US team is realistically capable of hanging a scoreline like that on El Salvador.

  7. Boss is not that fast from what I’ve seen. You don’t need fast defenders, you need smart ones. Rio and Vidic aren’t fast, but they work brilliantly together. We need discipline which is something we have not had under Bob (based on conceding goals in the first half in almost every single game since the WC).

  8. I’ve asked for months now: What has to happen in this cup for us to fire Bob? He has been terrible since the WC with a butt load of losses – friendlies or not.

    Jamaica and Costa Rica are looking quite good and there’s always the off chance of a poor game. Does a quarterfinal loss cost him his job? I would think so…

  9. But since that period, they axed their useless manager who wasn’t pushing the team to new levels and we still have….. Bob…. Big difference.

    We’re still that same team, Mexico are not.

  10. Goodson is a bit more agile and far better defensively. The way to beat him is to simply starve him of service. We need a 4-5-1 to contain them…

    He still isn’t world class without decent service so we need to pressure the defense. Of course looking at how we played Spain with our inability to apply any pressure, that scares me a bit. We never close down the middle and that’s where we’re going to get man handled.

    But our midfield is a brute force one so we have a chance.

  11. Don’t forget this Mexican Defense stood up to an 11 man Spain team and their offense scored a goal. To top that off their first game in the gold cup results to five goals (in the second half!!!). Their ball control out of defense, their quickness on the ball, everyone’s awareness of where their key players are…..the US are in more trouble than we think….
    Field Gooch and Ream against the quick breaking Chicharito and Dos Santos, then throw in Juarez and I see a lot of holding calls and a 3-1 mexico game…

  12. At least we didn’t lose to them, like Mexico did during that same period. As they say, past results are not necessarily indicative of future results.

  13. Mexico’s offense looked fast and dangerous.

    But it should be pointed out that their defense did not look as good. They’re not terrible, but they did get beaten in the air and on the ground. Plus they certainly give up a lot of cheap shot fouls. Should be a very physical game, and the ref will matter….

  14. Chicharito is a fantastic finisher, but the key is closing down hard on Gio dos Santos and Efrain Juarez, as they look to be the most dangerous midfielders. (Okay, so dos Santos is more a withdrawn striker, but the point still stands.)

    I always thought Andres Guardado was Mexico’s most dangerous midfielder, but he’s been banged up and surpassed as a provider by Juarez on the wing and dos Santos in the high middle. (Juarez, remember, is the guy who won the last WCQ against the US in Azteca…)

    Stop those two guys and Chicharito will struggle. Remember he was invisible in the CL final because Man U’s midfielders were all bottled up.

  15. Well, other than that ole El Flopo on the final penalty — that was a dive.

    Mexico played well, even if it did take their midfield 50 minutes to finally sync up on a poor defending team. But I thought the final score flattered Mexico a bit.

    The penalty was a joke, and a half-decent GK would’ve had a good chance at stopping 2 of the other 4 goals. That’s still a comprehensive victory, mind you, but Mex-Costa Rica will be a much better gauge.

  16. Maurice Edu at centerback or is that another dangerous playing-someone-out-of-position move?

    just trying to think out of the box, Edu is pretty springy

  17. Mexico has always been a more dynamic team than the US. They run rampant in some of these games the way the US never really does. The Spain game makes it hard to feel confident heading into our game with Canada, even though Canada is no Spain. I think if we get a good result early and build on each performance, we may be ready for Mexico in a late-stage match.

    Right now, I think they’d win a ‘best of three’ matchup. Should make for a helluva final, if we can get there. Exciting.

  18. My attitude towards Chicharito and the damage he could do to the USA before today: “He’s a world-class striker, but won’t be getting the same world-class service he gets from Man U from Mexico. Shouldn’t do too much damage.”

    My attitude today: “Oh, s**t.”

    Our midfield/defense should be able to contain Mexico much better than El Salvador did, but I’m apprehensive because (today at least) Mexico IS providing good service to the little green pea, AND he’s scoring even when service isn’t perfect.

  19. Question: Are there any fast center backs in our pool? I will not accept Marvell Wynne as an answer.

    Only guys I can come up with are Ugo Ihemelu and maybe Gale Agbossoumonde?

  20. Yes it is always head in the U.S. so CONCACAF can make the maximum amount of money from it. It would be good if they moved it around but we know what motivates the decision making of the CONCACAF/FIFA autocrats. But then again I am not sure there are any countries in Concacaf besides the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that have enough decent stadiums and other infrastructure necessary to host it.

  21. Since the beginning of the Gold Cup era, the tournament has either been hosted outright by the USA, or co-hosted by us with Mexico. 2 of those times the final was contested in Mexico. Prior to 1990 when it was simply referred to as the CONCACAF Championship, it moved around the region pretty freely.

  22. While Mexico looked good, El Salvador’s defending was absolutely criminal at times. At least we know Chicharito will not be winning any headers inside the 6 yard box against Oneywu, Ream, and Howard.

  23. Just wondering…is the Gold Cup ever played anywhere else besides here in the states? I’ve only seen it held here but know that it’s a CONCACAF tourny so was curious.

  24. Any chance at winning will be in the containment of both Gio and Chicharito. It doesn’t help that they also have Marquez and that uncanny long ball ability he can unleash.

    In order to beat them, it will require containment of the two stars, possession to beat their pressure, and maximize scoring opportunities.

  25. The US midfield is powerful and Donovan is “a different” player when seeing green, but I think that this new MEX trainer knows his sh#t! The way he switched tactics to start the 2nd half was pretty impressive even if it was El Salvador. Five games at the helm, no games lost! If we meet them in the final and he neutralizes Donovan and Bradley it will be a long day!

    Also Chicharito and Dos Santos are world class and both Gio and Barrera are polyfunctional which can create a lot of poblems.

    Let us see how we behave vs Canada and take it from there. As of now, both Costa Rica and Mexico got the job done. Now’s our turn to put up or shut up!

  26. Dos Santos, De Negris, and Chicharito all looked great. In fact, Dos Santos was actually their best player. He had that Xavi look going, and that’s something we’re very poor at defending.

  27. I agree.

    I’m afraid that Mexico’s midfield looked much better than anticipated. Canada should give us an indicator of where we’re at in cohesion, but I don’t think we will be able to overcome Mexico’s high pressure and possession.

  28. All of el salvadors defenders were following chicharito move. I even saw some envy because they laugh when he got yellow carded for a foul that never existed. They push him like he’s was nothing. Then chicharito scores 3 on them. Haha he just smiled when he scored his hat trick. El salvadors defenders just looked at him like they hate his guts.

  29. It wasn’t Mexico fault el Salvador fell into pieces. Mexico always pressured the area box. Mexico dominated and always threatened. El Salvador only came to Mexicos area box a few times. Then Mexico move there players around put Giovani as a winger and then the goals started to come up. Giovani is the most dangerous player in Mexico with the dribbling he learn in the Barcelona academy imagine when his younger brother who I 19 develops better in Barcelona. Chicharito always ready to score and actually dribble the ball good and got his hat trick. Nice penalty by the way. El Salvador had no chance they only holded the tie for 45 min and broke down when the 2nd half started. To cost rica game Miller goal was nice but Cuba had no football in them just physical.

  30. I’m trying to not think about what Chicarito will be doing to positionally challenged Ream and agility challenged Onyewu. I honestly do not believe we have a single central defender capable of containing his runs and quickness.

    I expect he’ll put in at least 1 against us in his current form. He’s obviously conquered whatever poor national team form he had.

  31. This was the first real test in the region for Mexico with all of their star players playing together in form. They obviously did not disappoint.

    The questions coming in to this match were if Chicharito and the midfield would work well together. I’d say that question has been emphatically answered. Dos Santos looked very dangerous in the middle.

  32. Joel Campbell’s goal was spectacular. Can hardly believe he’s only 18 from the confidence he has on the pitch. Him and UreƱa are real gems for the future.


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