The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup continued Sunday night with two Group C matches at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
In the early match, Trinidad and Tobago defeated Cuba 2-0 to maintain their perfect record and take first place in the group. In the late game, Guatemala held Mexico to a scoreless draw in perhaps the most surprising result of the group so far.
Here are the key takeaways from Day 6 at the Gold Cup.
Mexico struggled, but Herrera still has time
Following the first round of group matches, the result of Mexico's matchup with Guatemala seemed in little doubt. El Tri had dominated a hapless Cuba side, winning 6-0, while Guatemala played poorly—especially in the first half—in a 3-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago.
But after defending doggedly for 90 minutes against Mexico, Guatemala came away with a hard-earned scoreless draw. El Tri monopolised possession and created a few good chances, but in the end, Miguel Herrera's side didn't do enough to break down their Central American opponents, who finished the match with 10 men.
Probably the biggest chance of the night came in the 34th minute as Oribe Peralta drew a pair of defenders to himself before crossing to Andres Guardado at the back post. The captain redirected the ball on target with his first touch, but Guatemala goalkeeper Paulo Motta tipped the shot over the bar.
The draw left Mexico with four points through two matches, which is only good for second place behind Trinidad. El Tri must beat the Soca Warriors on Wednesday in order to claim first place in the group.
Doing so would ensure Mexico play the knockout stage on the opposite side of the bracket of the United States. El Tri might not fear the U.S. after watching the Americans' performance against Haiti, but the region's two heavyweight teams would probably prefer to avoid the other until the final if possible.
In the meantime, Herrera will face an inquest from the Mexican press after his delay in bringing on Giovani dos Santos as a substitute. Dos Santos provided a spark upon his introduction, but he came on in the 83rd minute, at which point frustration had already begun to set in for El Tri.
In addition, Herrera will face questions over why his team failed to change its approach in the second half after Guatemala showed clearly in the 45 minutes their desire to defend at all cost.
Fortunately for El Piojo, there's still time to find the right combination. But Mexico must improve in time to play Trinidad, the surprising leaders of the group.
Soca Warriors storm to top of group
In the day's first game, Trinidad and Tobago defeated Cuba 2-0 to move into first place in Group C and claim a spot in the quarter-finals. Sheldon Bateau and Andre Boucaud scored the goals for the Soca Warriors, who now head into their next match, against Mexico, having already accomplished their minimum objective for the group stage.
If it has a winner, that match, which is scheduled for Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, will determine the winner of Group C. Along with winning the group comes the extra incentive of playing on the opposite side of the bracket than the U.S. and, possibly, Costa Rica.
Before the tournament, Trinidad's primary goal must have been simply advancing out of the group, which included a regional power in Mexico. But after playing two games, the Soca Warriors are in position to cause a real shock and top the group outright.
Cuba, meanwhile, remain in contention for a knockout place despite losing their first two matches. But Los Leones will have to beat Guatemala on Wednesday to stay alive.