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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. I think Dos Santos is the man to guard. He had good minutes with Racing and comes with a lot of confidence. Barrera looked rusty. Guardado a bit flat. Torrado hacking in midfield. De Nigris three goals in five games mostly as a substitute. Very dangerous. If the USMNT can stop Gio and Guardado then they win it.

  2. That’s OK! I bet none of your friends wanted Perez on goal for Mexico in the WC either?

    And I’m sorry to disagree with you. Of the players from Mexico that still could and should go to Europe he’s one of them!

  3. Thoughts on the falling sky:

    – I thought playing our B team was gutsy and savvy. Donovan’s illness changed everything. You could tell it was a shrewd last minute decision because BB knew (like all of us know) that we were not going to beat Spain without Landon. So let’s bench Dempsey, Boca, Dolo, and Baby Bradley. We know what they’re going to bring to the Gold Cup. They’re ready. We might as well give our more promising potential guys (Lichaj, Agudelo, Rodgers, Jones) and our rusty backups (Kliejstan, Spector, Onyewu, Edu) some quality minutes against the best team in the world. If Spain didn’t show up, we could draw. If Spain showed up hungry, we had no chance. Plenty of our guys will never play competitive opponents at Spain’s level for the rest of their lives. The experience is good. We got hammered, but I don’t question the lineup. In comparison, I hated our WC lineups. I’m not a BB homer, but the lineup decisions versus Spain weren’t half bad.

    – I expect a totally different performance in the Gold Cup. We brought our B team to the last Gold Cup’s final. Does anyone really think our B team 2 years ago could beat our B team now? We’re drastically deeper than people think. One game versus the world champions does not change that.

    – Consider the usual talking points versus Mexico. Landon goes nuts when he sees green. Dempsey is in killer form. Mexico is inconsistent. Chicharito is studly but he’s also a wee lad. We have experience. We have consistency. We have our home turf. What’s our record at home versus Mexico? We’re not going to get swept off the pitch. We came eight minutes away from drawing them in Estadio Azteca the last time we played a competitive “A-Team versus A-Team” match against Mexico.

    – The cause for concern is simply high expectations. Admit it, my fellow Americans, you wanted us to beat Spain. What were you smoking? A draw was always going to be our best possible result. Nobody remembers that Stu and Gooch played out of their minds in that Confed Cup semi. Stu (our CAM in the 4-5-1 once he’s healthy) is on crutches. Old Gooch isn’t here right now. We were never going to beat Spain. We’re just not good enough right now.

    – However, we’re good enough right now to win a group in the World Cup, despite being jobbed by refs versus Slovenia and despite BB’s horrendous lineup decisions. We’re good enough right now to win our Gold Cup despite Stu Holden’s injury, Gooch playing with stone feet, and Adu/Kliejstan/Spector/Bornstein still on the USMNT. Be thankful and proud.

  4. Why are you so preoccupied with a 5-0 win? Plenty of teams win major tournaments without posting 5-0 beatings and plently of teams fail to win tournaments after posting a blowout win. Portugal beat North Korea 7-0 in the last WC, but the tournament was won by Spain which put together a string of 1-0 wins. Consistency is more important when the ability to run up a score against a weaker opponent.

  5. We dominated in 3-0 win against Egypt in the Confederations Cup. We also dominated against Mexico in the 2-0 win in the World Cup qualifiers.

  6. The US does not need to beat El Salvador 5-0 to win the Gold Cup. If Mexico loses 1-0 at the elimination stage, let’s say to Canada, nobody will remember this 5-0 win.

  7. None of the Mexican guys I play with think much of Ochoa… Although as far as I can tell, they all would like to have Campos back! (older crew)

    I thought Ochoa played in a friendly that US won, when Altidore scored on a header… I could be misremembering. Anyway, I think the kid has the tools, he just needs a tournament to be dominant to turn that last bit of cockiness to confidence. Ummm… Like this Gold Cup maybe.

  8. Past performance is not a guarantee of the future results. Salvador beat Mexico 2-1 in the world cup qualifying and that did not stop them from losing to Mexico 5-0 in the Gold Cup.

  9. Dude, I have nothing against Chicharito and his intelligent runs, but don’t let the performance of our B team against Spain fool you. When US plays their A team, they are much better defensively. Didn’t they stop Messi from scoring when the USMNT played their A team? If they had a draw against the loaded and supremely talented Argentina, they can certainly beat Mexico.

  10. All interesting points Canchon, but allow me to play devil’s advocate (images of homer simpson playing a video game with the same name pop into my head). Defensively, GK Ochoa still looks uneasy and if El Salvador had been a bit more creative they could have squeeze one or two in.

  11. Tim,

    “I think we need to quit focusing on Mexico for the moment,”

    Not on this report. This is a report on the Mexico and Costa Rica games, that claims they ‘ran rampant’. Perhaps on another report.

  12. The doom and gloom aspect of most of the comments here is a bit extreme however, they are very understandable. Most of it can be attributed to the fact that Mexico has enjoyed a nice unbeaten streak against some quality sides. They have a new coach at the helm that has them very organized and disciplined. Each player has a defined role and they all seem to be on the same page. Their players have the ability to constantly switch in position. Their attack is generally unpredictable due to the fact that they play any style. They look to play the ball on the ground favoring possession over the long ball. Should they be stymied in the mid-field they look to utilize players on the wing from either the LB or RB defensive positions or from traditional wingers. They look to vary their points of attack and constantly keep the defense feeling “uncomfortable”. They do not have any real weaknesses at any one position save for LB (maybe keeper) and they have dept should Chepo feel the need to shake things up. Take a deep look at what has been happening with our squad. From the spine of the team all the way to the top, our team is currently in flux. Gooch is only 70-80% and does not invoke confidence at the moment. There is a big unknown right in the heart of our defense. We have a capable Goodson however, we don’t know what type of chemistry or communication issues will present themselves. At the 11th hour, we are still trying to figure out who will tandem in the midfield given that Bradley will always start regardless of form. In addition, we do not know what our best tactical formation would be. Our best 2-way Mid is out injured and the other bright spots, Dempsey and LD will be the oppositions focus so the onus lies with the folks in front of them who, by the way, are virtually non-existent. Our attacking third is already a couple of steps behind the curve due to the fact that they are not playing inspiring football. We do not have a striking partnership developed and at the 11th hour are still experimenting with different options up top. Our attacking third currently does not inspire any confidence. What has the US been doing post world cup? They have been getting some experience for a younger group as well as trying some different combos at various positions, which is fine however, there has been no substantial consistency or improvement leading up to this crucial tournament. We have been playing Brazil, Argentina, Spain along with a couple of others however, the build up should have included some friendlies with teams that would have provided similar competition to that found in concacaf. In comparison to the positives attributes of the Mexican side, what is it that we do really well at the moment that would give me the confidence to say, ” Yeah, Mexico is real solid and have some really talented players however, the US is going to beat them…because…”

    Doom and Gloom is a bit harsh but understandable given both teams recent form. With that said, the US is always competitive and both Mexico,US as well as every other team in the tournament have to put on the jerseys and play the game on the pitch and not on paper. At the end of the day the results will speak for themselves.

  13. they have a World class striker. Biggest hole they had for ten years. major difference this Mexico Team is stacked.

    I cant stand them just as much as any other US fan. But they finally got that piece of the puzzle.

  14. the federation will go broke if it isn’t played in the states every two years. Its how they pay for all the competitions youth and senior levels male and female. This tourney is what pays the bills as long a mexico makes the final every time.

  15. And in the last couple of games havent we done the same. Mind you its against better competition but its absolutely Mind boggling and frustrating that in 15 years Our national team. Still looks horrible against teams that simply pass the ball.Th team looks Lost.
    We are the kings of Parking the bus and Countering. Can anyone remember the last time we absolutely dominated a game that wasnt against a CFU team.

  16. Well said, and even though De Nigris is no “Chicharito’ he could be a surprise. He consistently scores for Mexico and Monterrey.
    Reminds me somewhat of Batistuta.

  17. Mexico plays much better against stronger opposition, I don’t think you know anything about Mexican rivalry vs Central American teams.

  18. I think we need to quit focusing on Mexico for the moment, and focus on a good Canada team that will be playing with something to prove after our controversial win against them in the 2007 Gold Cup.

    Though the result on Saturday was lopsided, I’m not worried about that. The line up we fielded was pretty experimental, and Ream and Lichaj were put in a position of having to play against some of the most talented opposition they will EVER see. I’m actually more worried about Gooch having to cover DeRosario…

    Having said all of that, yes, Chicharito is a HUGE concern. We just don’t have any strikers of his caliber, and it will be a challenge for our defense to contain him. I mainly think as the torunament progresses, we simply cannot get into our form of recent times of conceding early goals…that just makes everything so much more difficult when you have to “chase the game.” Do that aginst Mexico, and it could be “game over” very soon.

  19. Mexico will not only win the cup, but they’ll win it with all out attacking soccer. They should play Costa Rica or Honduras in the final. This is El Tri’s golden generation, those you get in the way will be mangled.

  20. Key to stopping Mexico is to pressure their mids and not give them the time to pick out the perfect ball over the top for Chicharito…

    Unfortunately, pressure in the midfield is not something that we do well, so…

  21. Don’t make me laugh! I’m Mexican and there is not a single Mexican that preferred to have “Conejo” on goal than Ochoa in South Africa…not one! Ochoa had NEVER made a mistake until Mex played North Corea in a meningless friendly previous to the WC, Aguirre fumbled the ball by telling the press that ‘everyone makes mistakes’ and then benching him…destroying his confidence, which no doubt set him up to make a couple of mistakes again. After that the sh#t hit the fan. Ii have enormous respect for the fact that he kept quiet, never blamed anyone and is back trying to regain top form.

    Do you think “Chepo” de la Torre, would have him starting when he has Talavera on the bench? Talavera is Chepo’s creation, his boy, he won a championship for Toluca with him! EVeryone from Hugo thru Sven to Aguirre has callled Ochoa to be on the Mex National team why?

    Marcelo Bielsa and Parreira, whom I shure know more about futbol than you, praised him as the best keeper in America and if you have doubts of what he can do just check out his epic performance vs Brazil at the Copa America.

    And your high school rant about their keeper has a name “Mema” that’s because he has long hair and is a good looking kid and Mexican fans have put down names for everyone no matter what team they play for especially Club America because it is owned by the largest mass media company in the Spanish speaking world.

    “Mema” by the way has NEVER lost against the US!

    I’m a Cruz Azul supporter, and do think Corona was in better form than Ochoa at this point, and would’ve been No.1 choice! But hey it didn’t happen and I support Ochoa all the way!

  22. I guess the Azteca is just the last “psychological” factor I can hang on too. Maybe its a little early to say….but hey, we see how we look tomorrow against Canada

  23. Where are all the geniuses who said Chicharito would not be the same player he was in Europe because he would get no service from the Mexican midfield?

    Whatever, the US will go as far as their pathetic defense takes them, which is in all likelyhood not very far.

  24. True, Mexico has beaten other teams in ways that the US has not…(except in WC 2010 qualifying where the US finished 1st). However, I think that sporting history shows that when you try to use that transitive property to predict the future, you are going to be disappointed.

    Best indicator of the future is past results, in this case, past US v Mexico results. You can look at the Azteca loss and be scared, but the US never wins at Azteca, and the gold cup will not be played at Azteca. The US does not lose to Mexico on US soil, I still don’t see a reason to think that this Gold Cup final will be any different.

    (If the final was being play at Azteca, I would be right with you in thinking the US is doomed.)

  25. Yeah, I think from a USMNT supporter perspective, the fact that Ochoa is playing over Corona may have been the only positive to take away from this match.

  26. My question is what has changed? In 2008, the last Mexico v US game on US soil (with A squads) was the US know for its possession game? Several well-timed passes leading to goals? Or was the US the team that won because of organization and well-timed counters?

    Nothing has changed…The US hasn’t developed into a possession team, but the US never has been and has beaten Mexico anyway.

    The US is fine. We are a better team than we were in 2008, better midfield, more experience keeper. I don’t see why the result is going to be any different than the results of the past decade. Hard-fought game, US win.

  27. Well said AME but as a fan when you look at:

    The last gold cup 5-0 mexico (B-team)
    soon after 2-1 mexico (A-team CD9 scores first)

    The last US vs El Salvador encounters Tie and a 2-1 win US

    While thinking about that factor in:
    Mexico tie spain and scored a goal (and thats recently!!!) on a team that should have beaten us like 8-0, had a possession % of like 80-20 and limited us to like 4 ATTEMPTS on goal….
    They have a recking ball crew Dos Santos, De Negris, Juarez that are always looking for or aware of their key finisher Chicharito(….all of whom are WORLD CLASS FINISHERS), whose key strength is in an area the US Defense lacks the most……the breaks

    To top that off they completely mash the minnows you talk about in a fashion that the US is not capable of…..
    As a US fan I’m scared AME……very scared

  28. There’s a reason Ochoa the keeper is their #2 choice–he’s a great shot stopper but he gets rattled and flustered.
    Salcido is erratic too. He can be good, but if you watched Fulham this season, you’ve seen him get lost and beaten.
    Marquez is the real deal, but he’s slowing down.
    And even most Mexicans don’t love Maza.
    How was it that tiny El Salvador was beating them to balls in the air?
    Not saying they suck, but they can be beaten.

  29. I don’t think it is the result. It is the confidence on the ball. The movement, the communication, the linking passes, the organization… These are things we failed to show consistently against Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, or Spain. Would the US team you have been seeing hang 5 goals on ANYONE? When was the last time we scored a team goal with several pinpoint passes and well-timed runs off the ball? Or do all our goals come from hopeful long passes, penalties, and set plays?

  30. “Their keeper” has a name, and most Mexican fans who don’t support America refer to him as “Mema”. He is their second choice, and only playing because Corona got himself suspended and dropped. La Mema Ochoa is a disaster on set plays and lets in several Rob Green/Fabian Barthez/Heurelio Gomez type soft goals a year.

  31. Will he need to? Onyewu and Ream will be out of position because Chicharito doesn’t just stand in the box and wait for crosses. He moves around. We saw against Spain how mightily those two struggle with tracking runners and staying with marks. I hope neither of those two play in the Gold Cup.

  32. Canada doesn’t have the infrastructure to do it alone. Only US and Mexico do. They could do one in all the Central American countries combined and there still wouldn’t be enough quality stadia to make a profit.

    Holding it in the States exclusively shouldn’t be considered unfair because the US is one of the least represented supporter groups during the tournament anyway. Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico… They all outdraw US supporters.

  33. Anyone who says that Mexico does not have a good defense I’ll tell you this, Hector Moreno is class all around and every bit as good, and very similar, to Rafa Marquez. “Maza” may have mental lapses but he’s the biggest and tallest defender Mexico’s ever had and Salcido, when he’s on, can be a nightmare on the wings. And I happen to think that their keeper has personality and commands respect. Let’s not forget that the ONLY reason Milan did not sign him was because they were confounded as to why Aguirre preferred a 5 ft 7 37 year old keeper instead of him as a starter in the WC!

    Mexico’s defense might not be Spain, but it’s certainly not bad!


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