Top Stories

Gold Cup: Mexico tops Costa Rica via controversial PK, Panama beats Trinidad & Tobago in shootout

photo by Brad Penner/USA Today Sports


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There might have been a shortage of goals, but there certainly was no lack of drama.

The last two quarterfinals of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup were played on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, and each of them were decided by a penalty shootout. Mexico and Panama defeated Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago, respectively, in a pair of games that took 120 minutes or more to find a winner.

Mexico and Costa Rica’s 1-0 affair will be the one that grabs most of the headlines in the coming days, as El Tri advanced through a phantom foul call in the penalty area at the stroke of midnight. With a shootout just seconds away, Roy Miller was deemed to have brought down Oribe Peralta in the 120th minute despite replays showing clearly that there was little to no contact between the two players.

Andres Guardado stepped up to take the ensuing attempt from 12 yards out, and fired it low and to the left past Costa Rican goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado.

El Tri had been the better side from the run of play in regulation and extra time, but some awful finishing combined with superb saves from the stellar Alvarado kept the match scoreless.

Mexico blew chance after chance in front of the crowd of 74,187, including in the 68th minute when Carlos Vela somehow managed to slice a shot wide from nine yards out.

Peralta actually scored for the Mexicans off a deflected effort in the fifth minute of the match, but the dream start was not to be as Paul Aguilar was whistled for an off-the-ball foul just before the shot was taken.

Peralta was also denied in the 51st minute, but this time by the crossbar. Vela headed an aerial ball into the path of his veteran teammate, whose ensuing shot pinged off the right-hand post before going out.

The woodwork also helped to deny Mexico attacker Carlos Esquivel in the 64th minute. Esquivel got on the end of a midlevel cross from Guardado, and acrobatically kicked it into the ground before seeing Alvarado push the bouncing ball onto the bar and over.

Another opportunity went to waste just before the end of the first half. Peralta found himself at the corner of the six-yard box, but sent his ensuing shot well over the frame.

Minutes earlier, Alvarado came up with another big stop by soaring to push wide a venomous Guadado effort from 35 yards out.

The defensive-minded Costa Ricans had their moments in the attack as well, primarily through Joel Campbell. The crafty forward pulled off some moves on the dribble on the right flank midway through the first half before hitting a floated cross that Johan Venegas lofted over an onrushing Guillermo Ochoa and the crossbar.

Celso Borges also had a chance in the 42nd minute when he was teed up at the top of the penalty area, but smacked a stinging shot high.

In Sunday’s first quarterfinals match, Jamie Penedo came to the rescue for Panama in a penalty-kick shootout against Trinidad & Tobago that ended, 6-5, after nine rounds.

Penedo stopped the final kick of the game, getting just enough of a touch and help from the crossbar to keep out Lester Peltier’s attempt.

Valentin Pimentel converted the winning penalty for Panama before that, striking a ball down the middle while T&T goalkeeper Marvin Phillip dove to the right.

Panama and Trinidad & Tobago had played to a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes, with Luis Tejada and Kenwyne Jones trading goals on each side of halftime in regulation. Tejada stabbed home the ball in the 37th minute after capitalizing on a deflected clearance attempt, but Jones responded in the 54th minute by flicking a close-range header past Penedo.

Jones’ goal made amends for a previous miss. Streaking in on goal two minutes into first-half stoppage time, Jones had a glorious opportunity to pull the Trinidadians even before pushing his open header from eight yards too far wide.

The Panamanians also had a glaring miss that could have come back to haunt them, as Blas Perez hit a volleyed attempt inches wide of the far post in the final seconds of regulation.

Neither nation created much in the way of chances in extra time, and they then took turns taking poor penalty kicks. Roman Torres skied the opening attempt from 12 yards out, but Penedo denied Sheldon Bateau on the second T&T take to bring Panama level.

Both Panama and Trinidad & Tobago missed their third penalty, but converted on their fourth and fifth attempts to force sudden death.

The Trinidadians failed to capitalize there despite having a shot to win the game in the seventh round, and that opened the door for Pimentel’s confident take and Penedo’s heroic block.


What did you think about Mexico’s controversial win over Costa Rica? Still shocked that El Tri was given that penalty kick? Who do you see winning the semifinals between Panama and Mexico? Which team would pose the biggest challenge for the U.S. Men’s National Team, if the Americans were to reach the final?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The referee should get arrested and prosecuted. Gold cup official needs to investigate this guy
    That was ridiculous .

  2. Que robo eso no era penal…que desgracia que nisiquiera en el football pueda ser algo legal wow pero bueno ya que…los mexicanos celebran su sucio triunfo esta bien veremos cuanto les dura…ya que la copa Oro es el unico donde tienes posibilidades de ganar algo por los paises que participan…diganme que paso en la copa america jajaja llevaron boletos de ida y buelta mucho menos en el Mundial.

  3. You guys are a joke this match was well won no one mentions the first goal México made, it was legit but got taken away, then later on in the game México had a clear penalty that wasn’t called. All you can talk about is that maybe penalty get of the gas dude.

  4. So how are power houses mexico, costa rica on one side of the bracket and its powerhouse usa and minnows cuba (no offense) and haiti on the other?

    • Very simple why Mexico & Costa Rica played in the quarterfinals. The seeding was set up so that one side of the bracket was supposed to be US vs.a 3rd place team in game 1 on Saturday and Costa Rica vs. a 2nd place team in game 2—the US and Costa Rica would then meet in a semi. But since Costa Rica was 2nd in their group, they fell to game 2 on Sunday and on the opposite side of the bracket. Mexico was supposed to play game 1 on Sunday, but came in second in their group, so also ended up in game 2 on Sunday.

      In other words, if anything, the plan was to have Mexico get the easier route to the finals, but their and Costa Rica’s poor play in the group stage messed up the plan.

  5. Panama has played Mexico tough. I think this game is going to be a battle and would not be surprised at all if Panama beats them again as they did twice last GC. Being that these two teams just went the full 120, this game is going to just drain whoever wins; and if it goes 120 again, the U.S. would be so much fresher. If this game does get very physical as I expect, Mexico will have to be very careful because many of their players are sitting on yellows. Yes,concacaf does want a playoff but it might not happen. Yes, the US will defeat Jamaica and in the semies. they will be going to the Confed Cup.

  6. I read the article. But would love to hear from one of you who’ve watched the game how Vela played. Really curious to hear what he is bringing.

    • I only watched about 75 of the 120 minutes. What I saw from Vela were some excellent runs off the ball. Two great opportunities in the second half where he blasted over. Usually a guy like that is money on those types of chances. I thought his passing decisions were mediocre, but let’s face it, he’s not known as a facilitator. The Costa Rican central defence through midfield was brutal for long stretches. They looked exhausted and Ruiz never came back leaving a huge space right above the box every time Mexico pressed deep. Vela did a good job slipping between Ruiz and the center backs. Also, when the center backs were flat, he was crafty in finding room to receive and maneuver between them. They looked exhausted and their marking was poor in the second half. I think he showed he his great instincts to find spots to get shots off or get in dangerous positions. Overall, I would not have rated him highly tonight because his finishing was not sharp at all.

  7. Well, there have been worse calls than that phantom PK, but not a whole lot. One thing about Mexico is that they look so good most of the time they play, but they only scored with the aid of a terrible call and a PK. If they play like this against Panama, they may not win (assuming Perez doesn’t miss any more sitters).

    • Mexico’s strikers are in a huge rut, but once their strikers start clicking, I wouldn’t sleep on Mexico. They are creating chances. This isn’t like other Mexican bad spells where they can’t even get shots off or create anything on offense.

      • their strikers lack confidence in that uniform…call a spade a spade. that’s a big problem on a soccer team. yes, Mexico creates lots of chances, and if one of those guys (Vela) finds his balls, look out. but he’s been searching for those in that uniform for some time now. we’ll see. incredible how many flat out misses from Mexico in that game

  8. Surprise…surprise…the assistant ref is American…

    Brings back memories of that US vs Can game where the ref was….you guess it…Mexican.

    Thanks Concacaf…

  9. …oh please USA wouldn’t win like that because we don’t take honor in cheating. Mehico live by the cheating and so they’ll cry when they fail by cheating.

    Next up, fighting on the field and trash/beer throwing when they lose.

  10. oh please what a bunch of hypocrites. If it was usa we would all be saying it doesn’t matter because the usa deserved to win. Mexico was the better team and the ref gave one of the worst performances i have ever seen in a professional game.

    • I have to say Corona is gonna be a huge star. And the fact that he’s being groomed in the Eredivisie just means he’s going to be get better. That guy was torching Costa Rica’s defense every time he had the ball. He needs to start every game. I agree, people here are mad that Mexico won, but they were the better team throughout the game and should have been up by at least 3 goals easily. Costa Rica didn’t do enough to make sure the result wasn’t decided by the ref, so it’s hard to feel sorry for them. I like Costa Rica, but they have been poor this whole tournament.

      • I don’t think it upsets people here so much that Mexico won, it’s how they won that upsets people.

      • Corona has talent but that’s it. Nobody knows if he will be a Star LLLOLLLNo, people are mad because Costa Rica got ….. They had their chances as well. Possession was almost 50/50. Mexico just stinks, dude.

      • The first half was more even, but the second half was all Mexico and they really should have been up by a few but their finishing was terrible. Campbell was really the only one in offense that was dangerous for Costa Rica in the second half.

      • Let’s face it: Everyone’s been poor this tournament. Any one of the semifinalist could get hot for two games and win it – even Jamaica. If no one does, we might see three more 0-0 or 1-0 slogs played in saunas and decided by questionable officiating.

        CONCACAF Fever! Catch it!

      • He’s to small he will flame out like Chickenpizza because of a lack of athleticism. He looked like Ronaldo ( the Brazilain legend not the Portugal model) because he had fresh legs and was running against a spent Tico side. He only shined in the first overtime before disappearing in the second overtime despite having some of the freshest legs on the pitch.

  11. If this is what it now takes for the Mexican national team to remain relevant and furthermore if their fans are happy with these types of results then Mexican football is worst off than I thought smh

  12. It was cheap. Makes you wonder what we just watched. The ref did a great job…right up until the last minute or so of play, when he awarded a yellow for a red card offense, and then bit on a clear dive when he’d seen through that all night.


    That said, it was hard not to notice the massive amount of energy both Panama and Mexico had to expend going 120 tonight…and if their form is any indicator, they may have to do it all over again on Wednesday.

    The Mexico/Panama survivor is not likely to have a whole lot left in the tank come Sunday.

    • Yes, the scissor tackle with the kick across the calves should have been a red, but I can’t fault the center too much for the PK. The AR called it. The third team has to trust one another, and the center – as captain of the third team – has to trust his teammates, even in the 122′ of a knockout. The AR REALLY let his center down by calling emphatically for that PK. The AR bit, and he bit hard.

  13. Haha Peralta should audition for a few telenovelas cause that was some great acting. Also, gotta love the MEX fans. Real classy to throw bottles and junk at players on the field.

      • So your saying ….That was a player from a different team that ran on the Pitch and stepped on Robbens foot because he was too slow to keep up? Marquez had gotten away with 2 or 3 other fouls in the game before that one was called. That was at least debateable this is not. This is the Mexico of old resorting to diving. Chapo thanked the ref said it was money well spent…

  14. Mexico was given a gift by the referee. First Peralta was not given a red card for a vicious foul, then the referee allowed added time to the extra time, then the referee bought a blatant dive by Peralta and awarded a PK.

    Costa Rica was robbed.

    • I am not so sorry for Costa Rica, but hate the fact that Mexico was awarded passage to the semis in this fashion.

      • Stuff like this happens for them just as Dallas, Larrionda, and Coulibaly happen to the US. It’s the way of things.

      • You’re right. Costa Rica deserved it for how blatantly dirty and diving one of their players was against us during WC Qualifiers. IIRC they were up 2:1 and one of their player’s dive got Cameron a yellow card that did nothing to help costa rica (already up 2:1). All it did was make Cameron ineligible for selection in the WC qualifier against Mexico a few days later.

  15. I think Panama has a chance, but they will have to bring their A game (including Blas Perez). We just found out CONCACAF wants Mexico in the Gold Cup final to create that play off game.


Leave a Comment