Monday, June 6, 2011

2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup - Night One: Mexico Gives Notice

The 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup got off to interesting start Sunday night with Group A action at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. While there was a much ballyhooed attendance of over 64,000 at the United States v. Spain friendly at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night, there was over 80,000 on hand to watch Costa Rica take on Cuba and Mexico play El Salvador. When the night was over, there 10 goals, 5 each in very one sided affairs.

The first match of Sunday's doubleheader featured Costa Rica taking on a hapless Cuba. So far, to the best of my knowledge, none of the Cuban players have defected yet, but after losing 5-0 to Costa Rica last night, some of them might be seriously considering defecting if for no other reason than to avoid further embarrassment in the tournament. Costa Rica picked up its first goal when Marcos Urena scored in the 6th minute and then it's second with an Alvaro Saborío goal in the 40th minute. Cuba's fate was sealed within the first two minutes of the second half as Urena picked up his second goal and Heiner Mora quickly followed up with a goal of his own. Costa Rica's last goal was picked up by Joel Campbell in the 70th minute.

The night's marquee match featured Mexico v. El Salvador. At the end of the first half, the score was 0-0 and some folks on Twitter were speculating as to whether Mexico was going to be a dominant team in this year's tournament. The speculation came to an abrupt end in the 55th minute when Efraín Juárez scored for Mexico and opened the floodgates. By the 60th minute, Mexico lead 3-0. Mexico's young forward, Javier "Chicharito" Hernández, showed that he doesn't need Wayne Rooney on the pitch with him in order to score, as he bagged a hat trick, the first hat trick for a Mexican National Team player since 1997.

With it's 5-0 win over El Salvador, Mexico made it clear that they're taking this tournament seriously and they should not be underestimated.

Tonight's action will feature Group B, as Jamaica takes on Grenada and Honduras battles Guatemala at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles.

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