July 8 – Mexico overcame Costa Rica 2-0 in Arlington, Texas, to progress to the semi-finals of the Gold Cup in Las Vegas next week.
After their 1-0 loss to Qatar in a bad-tempered final group game, this performance put the Mexicans, under interim coach Jaime Lozano, back on track. They could, perhaps should, have won by more.
Costa Rica came into the game having had a patchy Gold Cup run. They only qualified for the knock out rounds after a goal fest 6-4 win over Martinique. In their first two games they had only scored one goal, losing to Panama and drawing with El Salvador.
The form book was against the rebuilding Costa Ricans. In their last eight games against Mexico they were winless, having lost five and drawn three.
In contrast Mexico needed to put their game back together and find a rhythm after they were knocked off it by the Qataris. Crucially they needed to start scoring goals.
Mexico started at pace and in the 5th minute could have been ahead. Henry Martin fed an overlapping Jorge Sanchez on the right who saw his shot saved to the right by Kevin Chamorro in Costa Rica’s goal.
On 8 minutes Costa Rica almost levelled. Joel Campbell fed Anthony Contreras, a driving force for Costa Rica all night, to make a diving save to his right.
The game ebbed and flowed from end to end but neither side created clear cut chances, though if it were a game decided on points, Mexico would have had the advantage.
On the half hour Cost Rica had a spell of pressure. A foul on the edge of the box by Luis Chavez saw Costa Rica wastefully hit the ball into the wall. The Costa Ricans posed most of their threat down the right but couldn’t find the final ball into the box to create real danger.
On 43 minutes, a ball into Martin in the danger saw him stumble it over the line wide of the goal.
Mexico had their goal five minutes into the second half. A ball threaded to Martin in the box saw him clumsily brought down in front of goal by Kemal Waston. The impressive Orbelin Pineda stepped up to casually sidefoot the penalty past Chamorro.
Costa Rica responded and almost equalised through Aaron Suarex who shot just over. But Mexican captain Luis Romo was dominating midfield. On 65 minutes he fired over the bar.
Minutes later a Jorge Sanchez free kick flew over the top of the Costa Rican goal.
With the clock ticking into the final 10 minutes Santiago Gimenez rocketed a low shot from distance just past Chamorro’s post.
Mexico finally had their second goal in front of a Mexican-fan packed AT&T Stadium. The gaols was created and scored by two of Mexico’s subs.
Roberto Alvarado driving into the Costa Rica goal area, hit the ball across box to an incoming Erick Sanchez to finish – 2-0.
Mexico now head to Las Vegas to face either Guatemala or Jamaica.
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