Mexico vs. Canada: Biggest Takeaways From Gold Cup Clash
As many expected, Mexico broke into the Gold Cup win column with a 2-0 victory over Canada in group play on Friday.
The win wasn't a shocker by any stretch of the imagination. Mexico has had their fair share of issues this year, but they haven't stooped to the level of dropping a match against Canada. The Canucks haven't won a match since Oct. 12, 2012, when they defeated Cuba in a World Cup qualifier.
After opening up Gold Cup group play with a 2-1 loss to Panama, the win was a big boost for El Tri regardless of competition.
Here were the biggest takeaways from the Gold Cup action.
Don't Count Out Mexico Yet
The most obvious lesson is that El Tri isn't out of this tournament just yet.
The back-to-back defending Gold Cup champions didn't get off to the best start. The loss to Panama is still a concern, and the Mexican side didn't lose a single match in either of their last two Gold Cups.
But this is a win that could breathe new life into the team. As Jason Davis of ESPNFC tweeted, it wasn't the most impressive victory, but it's something to build on going forward:
Winning on a set piece goal and a dodgy penalty isn't much, but it's something for Mexico to build on. Maybe.— Jason Davis (@davisjsn) July 12, 2013
A crucial match against Martinique lies ahead on July 14, but this could be the match that gives El Tri the confidence that they can compete.
Marco Fabian Is Showing He Can Come Through When Called Upon
You don't want to make too big a deal about one match, especially against Canada, but Marco Fabian now has two goals in as many Gold Cup matches.
The 23-year-old drew a rather questionable penalty by darting into the box with the ball and made Canada pay by sneaking the penalty kick past the goalkeeper.
Fabian's first goal against Panama was even more impressive, as he controlled the pass overhead and maintained enough composure to send the ball home. Fox Soccer provided video:
If Mexico is going to make a serious Gold Cup run, Fabian will be a big reason why.
Canada Needs to Catch a Break
The Canucks really didn't play as awful as the score might indicate. There were some positives to take away for the Canadian side.
As Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated tweeted out, it was tough to tell if Canada's moments of success were because Mexico wasn't playing well or if Canada stepped up. As Wahl concludes, it was a little bit of both:
Not sure whether to give Canada some credit or rip Mexico. Maybe some of both.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 12, 2013
Creating six shots with three on target doesn't seem like much, but they came extremely close to scoring on a few occasions—including this impressive header from Marcus Haber that nearly found the net via Fox Soccer.
It won't be much consolation because they're already eliminated, but this match could have gone worse for the Canadian side.
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