Mexico will settle for second place following its 3-1 Gold Cup win Sunday over Martinique.
Mexico, like the United States, is far more accustomed to breezing through the Gold Cup group stage. This is just the third time El Tri failed to finish atop its group.
A 3-1 win over Martinique is not exactly cause for celebration. As Soccer America noted today: “The last time Mexico played Martinique was at the 1993 Gold Cup, where it won, 9-0, with seven goals from Luis Alberto Zague. The game was such a waltz that keeper Jorge Campos finished the game as a forward.”
So even in victory, embattled Mexican manager Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre is doing little to improve his highly unstable footing.
BUT … by finishing second in Group A, it does ensure that Mexico will travel to Atlanta for its Jul 20 quarterfinal. By falling initially to Panama to open Gold Cup play, Mexico opened the possibility of finishing third (or worse, of course). A third-place finish could have arranged a quarterfinal contest against the United States, which would have pitted the two regional heavyweights exactly two rounds earlier than most everyone expected.
Costa Rica or perhaps Honduras could certainly still interrupt the order, upsetting the United States or Mexico along the way. But as of now, the bracket is being arranged in a way that would see Mexico and Jurgen Klinsmann’s Americans not meet until the July 28 final in Chicago.
(The full Gold Cup schedule and results are here.)