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Gold Cup Rewind: Mexico finishes second after wild stalemate with T&T, Cuba stuns Guatemala

photo by Sam Sharpe/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

From first place and ecstasy to second and despair. All in the matter of seconds.

Mexico saw Trinidad and Tobago claim the top spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup’s Group C on Wednesday night deep into stoppage time, as Yohance Marshall headed home a late corner kick in a thrilling 4-4 draw.

Marshall’s goal capped a wild affair at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Trinidad and Tobago came back from a 2-0 deficit and took the lead by scoring three goals in 12 minutes in the second half before Mexico mounted a furious rally of its own.

With the score 3-2, Mexico found an emphatic equalizer through Andres Guardado in the 88th minute. El Tri then appeared set to steal the three points and first place in the group two minutes later when Kenwyne Jones scored a gut-wrenching own goal.

Fortunately for the Soca Warriors, there was one more chance. While being pelted with debris in the 93rd minute, Chicago Fire midfielder Joevin Jones whipped in a corner kick from the left that Marshall rose up and thundered home to end the roller coaster of a match in a stalemate.

Trinidad and Tobago, on seven points, took first place in Group C with the tie. The Mexicans disappointingly finished second with five points from a 1-0-2 record.

Paul Aguilar and Carlos Vela scored the game’s first two goals, but the Trinidadians received two strikes from Keron Cummings and one from Jones before the late-game madness.

It was not as exciting, but the day’s earlier match at Bank of America Stadium also had some drama. Cuba upset Guatemala, 1-0, via a goal from Maikel Reyes in the 73rd minute.

The tally was the Cubans’ first of the tournament, and was enough to see them advance to the quarterfinals as one of the two best third-placed teams in the tournament. Cuba, which has conceded eight times so far, finished with three points while Guatemala had just one.

The result eliminated Group B’s third-placed nation, El Salvador, and helped wrap up the schedule for the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Here are the match-ups for the next round:

Saturday (5 pm) – United States vs. Cuba
Saturday (8 pm) – Haiti vs. Jamaica
Sunday (4:30 pm) – Trinidad and Tobago vs. Panama
Sunday (7:30 pm) – Mexico vs. Costa Rica

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What do you think about Mexico’s wild draw with T&T? Was it the best game of this Gold Cup so far? How surprised are you by Cuba’s advancement? Which nations do you see moving on from the quarterfinals?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Mexico fans classy as usual.

    What I hate about Mexico fans is that probably 95% of them live in the U.S. and probably 25% of those have never even lived in Mexico. Pretty weak IMO.

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  2. I was watching Guatemala vs. Cuba in a bar with the sound off. Does anyone know why Guatemala’s equalizer was waived off? Was it called a high kick?

    Entertaining game between Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago yesterday by the way.

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  3. I hate having 2 of 3 third-place teams advance. It just makes the group stage seem pointless for US and Mexico.

    Agree that it’s a problem? If so, any idea on solutions?

    Could they have the top 2 group winners automatically advance to the semis and have the remaining winner plus 3 third place teams face off in the quarter final? Scheduling would be tough (giving the quarterfinal teams enough time between matches while not getting the top two group winners rusty in the midst of a tournament), but maybe you could just do 2 off-days after the final group match day, the quarterfinal, then the 3-player roster substitution, and two or three off-days before the semifinals. It’s a tight schedule, but isn’t so so nuts and would incentivize being one of those top-two teams.

    Or maybe they could add a fourth group, and then just have the top 2 teams in each group advance. Obviously this would dilute the groups to some extent, but I’m not sure how much. Are the 13th-16th best teams in the region so much worse than the 11th and 12th? We see all the time that anything can happen in Gold Cup group play.

    Anyway, just thinking out loud and curious what others think.

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    • Do you feel like the US completely outplayed Honduras, Haiti, and Panama? Was it just matches where US and Mex steamrolled their opponents on the way to the final?

      I think JK got useful information on the team from the first 3 games.

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      • Obviously the US did not play very well and the games were close. I’m not sure I see how that’s an argument that 3 out of 4 teams (ok, 2 and 2/3) should advance from each group. If the group play matches are close, then wouldn’t it make sense that in order for the result of such close matches to have any significance you’d only have 2 teams advance (and group winners would tend to benefit over 2nd place teams by having an easier quarterfinal matchup)?

    • I like the idea of only having six teams advance. The two teams with byes wouldn’t get rusty – they’d still have less than a week between games. Plus in a situation like the US had where they clinched after two games they would still need a result in the third game to ensure they were one of the top two group winners and got the bye. Sounds like a great solution to me but it means two fewer quarterfinals, which means less dollars in tickets and TV revenue, so it won’t happen.

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    • They did look really bad last night. Also, their fans are complete scumbags, enough with the throwing stuff on the field like you are a five year old having a tantrum.

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    • Why is Mexico pathetic? They have shown double more attacking talent than the US has. Their defense is very questionable and that may be their undoing. I still expect a US-Mex final and 50/50 on who takes it.

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  4. Perhaps Mexico should play a qualifier in an empty stadium if this continues? I feel for mexican population that has had to endure the fallout of the Trump comments. But, let’s prove him wrong eh?

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    • Why would Mexican soccer fans have to prove that goof wrong? It was and is only a few bad apples every time. Why do the rest of Mexico fans need to be tainted? There is always tons of racism from USMNT fans towards Mexico and its fans. It is sad really and I am ashamed of it.

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    • No crap. I think TnT and Haiti have played the most entertaining soccer so far. And until his unfortunate own goal I thought Kenwaye Jones was by far the player of the tournament.

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      • I think they play the way they have been for the last few years, the BIG difference is they finally can put the shots on frame.

    • Big. Strong. Fast. Fearless.

      They’re not the most skilled, disciplined, or tactically adept teams, but they’re damn fun to watch.

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  5. I don’t know if they are doing the same thing in this round with 2 back to back games on the same field, but if so I’m glad we get to play first.
    SKC field had more divots than Tigers opening round today

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    • They are doing a back-to-back on grass laid over turf. The second and fourth QF’s are probably going to be rough affairs pitch-wise.

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  6. What will it take to get CONCACAF/FIFA to act on the dirtbag, debris-throwing, El-Tri fans? A serious injury or death? Scum.

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    • Where was the security?!?! And the ref should have stopped the game until all the debris was off the field and the player was protected. But in the end…. JUSTICE. Way to go TnT.

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      • I’d like to say that security was busy arresting the El Tri fans that had been shining lasers at the TnT players earlier in the game … HOWEVER, I realize that since nothing appeared to happen to them, the eventual debris throwers thought “Well, nothing happened to them, so nothing will happen to me either, and my team needs me.”

        As a North Carolina, I’d like to express my apologies to TnT for the NC-based El Tri fans conduct AND the lack of security response … you have every right to demand that you’re next Gold Cup game vs. Mexico be played somewhere more secure.

      • Paul, hear you… but yes, yes I do. Perfectly willing to criticize American event security teams that don’t remove people with laser pointers or throw things on the pitch / players.

        At the Rent in East Hartford CT, they wont serve you a water bottle with a cap because they are concerned people will flick them onto the field. There are steps that should be taken.

      • Yeah, I understand what you guys are saying. Still, I wouldn’t look for CONCACAF or FIFA to fix our inability to host a game. In our stadiums, I think we need to police the crowds. Tough job when the fans want to act like this, but it is our responsibility.

    • Not to mention the ubiquitous laser pointers in the faces of the opposing team’s players. Much harder to police, but no less disgraceful.

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  7. Should be an absolute cakewalk to the final for the USMNT. Two more opportunities to get this team playing at a reasonable level before the final. Stating the obvious, but that’s the most important game this year for the USMNT by far. Friendly wins are nice and help us get taken more seriously in Europe but Gold Cup will determine whether 2015 is a success or failure for this team.

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    • There are no cakewalks in CONCACAF. JK building this team in a UEFA style — making good progress against UEFA competition (especially recently). CONCACAF doesn’t go like the stats say. Playing for shootouts. Junking up the game. Officiating questionable. It’s a game of attrition.

      I agree with your conclusion… this is critical for USMNT and lining up as best as it possibly could… but cakewalk? Never.

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    • Jamaica is almost never a cakewalk. We’re the better side, but that is one of the CONCACAF teams that often makes it tough on us.

      Cuba, sure, we can probably play anyone on our roster and comfortably get by.

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    • It should be a cakewalk but based on our performances thus far who knows? I like our chances at this point especially since Mexico has been pretty poor. I still like the Brooks/Alvarado partnership long-term but not sure if it’s the best one right now. Maybe Omar should come in?

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      • Based on resources, talent, our aims, goals, view of ourselves etc…. we certainly SHOULD go through, including beating a team like Jamaica. Cakewalk? No way. What is a way of measuring this? How about against a team/program that is at the level we aspire. Brazil by any measure is upper echelon. Their recent match against Jamaica was pretty telling where they had plenty of motivation to win was a very hard fought evenly contested match that was even up until the final seconds. This whole tournament has been a testament to the fact that CONCACAF has fewer and fewer patsies and presents plenty of challenges.

    • Do we really want a cakewalk? Or we be better served with a couple o tough matches to get us battle tested fr the final?

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      • If it’s a cakewalk it means we are playing well, or at least better than we’ve played so far. So I would vote for a cakewalk.

      • We have been already battle tested at the group stage with Honduras and Haiti and Panama, 3 of which made it to the knock out stages. It just turns out that Mexico is barley getting their test starting last night against T&T.

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