Uriel Antuna Nets Hat Trick as Mexico Routs Cuba 7-0 at 2019 Gold CupJune 16, 2019
Mexico opened up its 2019 Gold Cup play with a 7-0 victory over Cuba at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Saturday.
Uriel Antuna (three), Raul Jimenez (two), Diego Reyes and Alexis Vega all tallied goals for El Tri while Guillermo Ochoa recorded a clean sheet.
Group A Standings
Mexico 1-0-0 (3 points, +7 goal differential)
Canada 1-0-0 (3 points, +4 goal differential)
Martinique 0-0-1 (0 points, -4 goal differential)
Cuba 0-0-1 (0 points, -7 goal differential)
El Tri set the tone right from the start in this match, getting a second-minute goal from Antuna off a rebound:
Interestingly, the 21-year-old Antuna was not even a confirmed member of the Gold Cup roster until Friday. The LA Galaxy midfielder was an injury replacement for Jorge Sanchez. And given the chance to start, he made his presence felt immediately.
Mexico would continue to keep the pressure on goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez and the Cuba defense.
While El Tri had a number of chances early on, it was not until the 31st minute that they were able to add to their lead:
A few moments later, Reyes put one home following a corner kick to extend the lead to three:
The offensive barrage continued, as Antuna put the finishing touches on a dominant first half by netting his second of the match:
Having entered the night without an international goal to his name, the first half was quite the showing for Antuna:
It was a first half that was completely controlled by Mexico. Possession (76-24), shots (15-0) and shots on goal (6-0) all heavily favored the Red, Green and White in the opening 45 minutes.
And there was no looking back.
As impressive as Antuna was, Jimenez was just as solid. He notched a brace of his own near the midway point in the second half:
Mexico wasn't done, though.
Antuna put the cherry on top of the blowout victory by finishing off his hat trick in the 80th minute:
Having entered the match with just two international appearances, a three-goal, one-assist effort certainly can't be overlooked.
It was quite the start for Mexico after a disappointing finish in its previous Gold Cup appearance. While El Tri have won three of the last five Gold Cups, they came up short in their last go-round, falling 1-0 to Jamaica in the semifinals in 2017.
That loss is still fresh in the mind of the 28-year-old Jimenez.
"Personally, I've never won [the Gold Cup]," Jimenez told ESPN correspondent Tom Marshall earlier this year. "I've only been once and we finished in the semifinal, so I'm coming in with passion, pride and the drive to win it...it is something that I'm missing."
He certainly backed up his talk in the opener.
The combination of Jimenez and Antuna helped get Mexico's quest for a record eighth Gold Cup title off to a promising start.
Mexico and Cuba will both be back in action on Wednesday in Denver, Colorado. Mexico will have a battle for first place in Group A with Canada, and Cuba will take on Martinique.