Andres Guardado's Brace Leads Mexico Past Canada 3-1 at 2019 Gold Cup

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2019

Mexico's midfielder Andres Guardado celebrates after scoring a goal during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A match between Mexico and Canada on June 19, 2019 at Broncos Mile High stadium in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
ROBYN BECK/Getty Images

Mexico sits atop Group A at the 2019 Gold Cup following its 3-1 victory over Canada on Wednesday at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver.

El Tri have six points through two games after handling Cuba with ease in a 7-0 win in their opener before they continued their dominance over Canada at this event. Mexico is 4-1 in its Gold Cup history against the Canadians, with its only loss coming in 2000.

Roberto Alvarado opened the scoring for Mexico, and Andres Guardado—who came on as an injury replacement—scored the second two goals for the victors. Lucas Cavallini was the only one on Canada's team to beat veteran goaltender Guillermo Ochoa.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

ARE YOU KIDDING ME ANDRES GUARDADO?! 🚀🚀🚀 El Principito scores his 11th Gold Cup goal and doubles Mexico's lead 🇲🇽 #GoldCup2019 https://t.co/hlB3ZVLByc

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

EL PRINCIPITO STRIKES AGAIN! 🇲🇽 Uriel Antuna beats the defender and sets up Andres Guardado to score his second of the match. #GoldCup2019 https://t.co/KaasKpRe0N

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

🇲🇽🔝 https://t.co/eFDJ4lbd8E

Mexico wasted little time establishing itself as the better team.

It dictated play in the first half with a commanding 72 percent of possession and 12 shots to Canada's four. It created far more chances and kept play on Canada's side of the field, and it is a credit to Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan that Mexico didn't break through until the 40th minute.

Tom Marshall @mexicoworldcup

Mexico with 72 percent possession in that first half and 96 percent passing accuracy (which is ridiculously high). #eltrieng

El Tri's first goal fittingly came after Borjan made an excellent diving save to preserve the scoreless tie, and Alvarado buried the rebound with a left-footed shot into the open net.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

MEXICO TAKE THE LEAD! 🇲🇽 Roberto Alvarado is there to fire home the save on Jimenez's shot and put Mexico out in front. https://t.co/G5P12GhMJJ

That it was only 1-0 at the half was a moral victory for Canada considering Mexico scored four goals in the first half of its opening game and just missed a handful of chances Wednesday. The Canadians got an opportunity to earn at least a point with one moment down the stretch.

They almost capitalized on that chance when Alphonso Davies went against two defenders on the left side of the box and unleashed a shot from a challenging angle, but he just missed the back of the net.

The miss proved costly, as Guardado gave El Tri some critical breathing room when he intercepted a pass in open space, took two dribbles and ripped the shot of the match from outside the box.

Borjan never had a chance on the highlight-reel play, although his leaping save on a header off a corner kick a few minutes later kept his team within striking distance and created some temporary drama when Canada scored.

Nestor Araujo turned the ball over in his own territory in a moment of carelessness, and Davies found Cavallini on the break for Canada's breakthrough moment.

Major League Soccer @MLS

Got one back! 🇨🇦 #GoldCup2019 https://t.co/NsvL9kyugG

The momentum was short-lived, though, as Guardado drilled home his second goal of the game two minutes later.

It should be a sign of things to come for Mexico's team after its two early showings in this tournament. The same Canadians that El Tri just dispatched had no trouble with Martinique, which is next on Mexico's schedule.

While a potential matchup with the rival United States looms in the later stages, the Mexico that was on display through two games in Group A is on the shortest of short lists for teams that can take home the Gold Cup championship.


What's Next?

Both teams are in action again Sunday with Canada facing Cuba and Mexico playing Martinique.