Mexico Winners and Losers at the Gold Cup So Far
Mexico has never missed the knockout stage of the Gold Cup, but this edition has been a nightmare for El Tri.
This squad is an alternate group. Forget about Javier Hernández, Andrés Guardado, Jesus Corona or Giovani dos Santos—the biggest names are those of Marco Fabian, Israel Jimenez, Javier Cortes and Raul Jimenez.
In the opening match, El Tri lost for the first time in history to Panama. The team secured its first victory against Canada, which gave Jose Manuel de la Torre a breath of fresh air but did not convince the fans.
In the last game of the group stage against Martinique, Mexico won 3-1, which reminded us of the low level of this team.
El Tri has never won the Gold Cup when it has qualified for the knockout stage in second place, which is precisely the case this year.
Losers: The Fans
Mexico's results are not fair on the fans. A defeat against Panama and two slim victories in front of Canada and Martinique—it's far less than the people deserve.
If watching the games on television is painful, imagine how those that have attended the stadium feel. Ticket prices range from $30 to $150.
Panama managed to hold Mexico to a draw in the opening match and made it look really bad. El Tri had a terrible day at the office.
There was no understanding between the players, they ran all over the pitch with no clear idea of what to do with the ball and this opened the door for despair, which seems to be a constant in the team.
Los Canaleros can finally say that they have beaten Mexico.
Loser: Rafael Marquez Lugo
The worst thing that can happen to a striker is not having the clarity to score. That is what is happening to Rafael Marquez Lugo.
The Chivas forward needs to show why the coach capped him or he can kiss the team goodbye for good. He is not getting any younger at age 31 and seems to be out of shape.
He has had several clear scoring opportunities—the most recent against Martinique. He did not kick the ball correctly and Marco Fabian took advantage of the rebound to score.
Winners: Marco Fabian, Raul Jimenez and Miguel Layun
Marco Fabian is Mexico's top scorer in the tournament. He has three goals to his count. Although the Chivas midfielder has a lot to offer and can give better performances, he is getting back on track.
Raul Jimenez continues to shine with the team. He fights for every ball and the effort has paid off. He scored his first international goal with the senior squad against Canada as a result of a powerful header.
Miguel Layun was constantly criticized during the Clausura 2013 tournament because of several mistakes. People even created memes and hashtags to make fun of him.
Layun is proving that he can be a good asset even for the senior team. He is fast and makes good crosses from the right side, an area where de la Torre has yet to find a constant player.
Loser: Mexican Defense
Joel Huiqui, Adrian Aldrete, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Israel Jimenez and Efrain Velarde are not on the same page.
The Mexico defense is a mess. These players take an eternity to pass the ball to their teammates. They need more than five touches to decide what to do with it and then they lose it easily.
Aerial and set plays are a true problem for them, but thankfully Jonathan Orozco has intervened correctly.
It would not be a bad idea to bring in one or two reinforcements for this line.
Loser: Mexico's Overall Performance
The only reason the team advanced to the quarterfinals is because of the low level of competition in the Gold Cup. Mexico is far from being a top-level team.
All three matches were a shame for Mexican football. Every member of this squad plays for a team of the Liga MX.
The team lacks personality and a distinctive style. It's painful to watch all of them running with no clue of what to do and desperate to make a difference.