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Mexico smothers Cuba 7-0 to start Gold Cup strong

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If Tata Martino envisioned a perfect start to the 2019 Gold Cup, his wildest dreams came true as Mexico dismantled Cuba 7-0 in their first group stage game of the competition. In a completely dominating 90 minutes, Mexico asserted itself as one of the premiere title contenders of the tournament.

21-year-old Uriel Antuna, on his third international cap, snagged a hat-trick while Raul Jimenez was spectacular in the attack, with a hand in each of the first four goals of the game.

The onslaught started just two minutes in via a clown show at the back for Cuba that saw three defenders completely whiff on a clearance, with the ball coming off the post as well before Antuna bundled it into the back of the net for his first of a memorable night.

Raul Jimenez came inches away from doubling the lead in the eighth minute as he put a diving header just wide right as the early slaughter continued. After the opening 15 minutes, Mexico seemed to take its foot off the gas pedal, cruising through to halftime with very little goal action but also hardly allowing Cuba to see a touch of the ball, holding 76% possession through the first half-hour.

On the 30-minute mark, however, the second goal that had been begging finally came and the storm continued. Right through the heart of the Cuba defense, Wolves star Raul Jiminez finished it off through the two center-backs and past goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez. The third came before halftime as Diego Reyes bagged his first international goal since March of 2017 as a corner swung in to Jimenez at the far post and he poked it on net. While Sanchez saved his weak effort that seemed more like a delivery, it was pushed right to Reyes on the doorstep for the poke.

Cuba couldn’t make it to halftime before conceding again, with Mexico breaking down the right via Jiminez who crossed to the middle for Roberto Alvarado. The Cuban defense tracked back to intercept the initial cross, but the rebound fell to Antuna who stepped in front of Andres Guardado and ripped his second of the game.

The second half was no different as Mexico continued to pour it on, with Jimenez adding his second past the hour mark and 21-year-old Alexis Vega bagged his first international goal with 16 minutes to go. On the 80th minute, Antuna got free down the right and finished from a tight angle for his hat-trick.

Follow Live: Gold Cup kicks off with Mexico and Canada in action

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The 2019 Gold Cup is here, and both Mexico and Canada are in play as the tournament kicks off at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

The games mark the first round of Group A play as Canada officially kicks things off against Martinique at 7:30 p.m. ET, while Mexico takes the field at 9:30 p.m. ET.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores ]

Canada made its way to its 11th straight Gold Cup by bulldozing the CONCACAF Nations League with a perfect 4-0-0 record and a +17 goal differential to finish atop the table along with Haiti. Martinique takes the field for its sixth Gold Cup having also recorded a 4-0-0 record in the Nations League.

Mexico, meanwhile, will see Tata Martino take charge of his first competitive match as head man of El Tri. He comes into the Gold Cup on a high, having won each of the four previous matches he has taken charge of. Mexico has high expectations for the tournament, and a big start over Cuba would set the stage.

Report: Hirving Lozano in advanced discussions with Napoli

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According to a report by notable Italian journalist Gianluca di Marzio, Mexican attacker Hirving Lozano is in advanced discussions with Napoli, and the two sides have agreed to terms on a contract, with just his image rights to work out.

The report states that Lozano is on board with the move and the Italian club is ready to offer $56 million to his current Dutch side PSV Eindhoven as soon as the image rights issue is negotiated.

Di Marzio says that the current hang-up is regarding Lozano’s current sponsorship agreements, which total around $3.3 million.  The two sides are negotiating whether to increase his agreed-upon salary of $5 million per year and transfer his image rights to the club, or leave everything as-is and sell only any future sponsorship agreements to the Italian side.

The reported transfer fee is surprising given “Chucky” reportedly has a $40 million release clause in his contract, but it could be that he is a wanted man and the total is higher with the aim of remaining competitive. Tottenham is also reportedly interested along with Barcelona and Manchester United, and Lozano has gone public saying he hopes to play in the Premier League eventually, but Napoli’s offered total could potentially scare off the others.

Lozano is represented by famed agent Mino Raiola who has reportedly been in contact with Napoli since early May, but he is currently suspended by FIFA, so it’s likely that others are currently negotiating. It apparently took a bit of work to convince Lozano to join the Italian side as there is heavy competition for playing time up front at Napoli, with Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon, and Dries Mertens all racking up consistent minutes on the wing. Still, Callejon is 32 years old and coming off a season with just three goals in 2,652 Serie A minutes, both lows for his Napoli career.

The 23-year-old Mexican is currently on the shelf, missing the 2019 Gold Cup due to a knee injury suffered in an Eredivisie game late in the season. The injury could affect his sale price and delay a medical, but it’s not expected to affect his start of next season, as it was initially thought he would recover in time to participate in the summer’s international festivities.

2019 Gold Cup: Group stage predictions

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The Gold Cup kicks off this weekend, as the United States, Mexico, Jamaica, and Costa Rica look to battle for regional glory.

For the first time, the tournament will be staged not just in the U.S., but also with matches in Kingston, Jamaica and San Jose, Costa Rica, as CONCACAF looks into staging the tournament outside of our friendly shores. Expectations have dropped significantly for the U.S. Men’s National Team, after two disastrous warm-up matches earlier this month, a 2-0 defeat to Jamaica and a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Venezuela, both in the U.S.

[READ: 2019 Gold Cup full schedule, kick off times, venues]

For Mexico, it’s the start of a new era. Not only is there a new coach in Gerardo “Tata” Martino in charge of El Tri, but many of the regular Mexico National Team veterans are being rested for this tournament, including Carlos Vela and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

Ahead of the Gold Cup, we asked our staff at PST for their Group Stage predictions, and we’ll revisit this after the end of the group stage and poll our crew to see who we think will win once the knockout round is set.

[READ: What’s the best USMNT lineup at the Gold Cup]

Take a look below at our predictions for the group stage, and feel free to get involved with your predictions in the comments below.


Joe Prince-Wright

Group A
1. Mexico
2. Canada
3. Cuba
4. Martinique

Group B
1. Costa Rica
2. Haiti
3. Nicaragua
4. Bermuda

Group C
1. Jamaica
2. Honduras
3. El Salvador
4. Curacao

Group D
1. USA
2. Panama
3. Trinidad and Tobago
4. Guyana


Andy Edwards

Group A
1. Mexico
2. Canada
3. Martinique
4. Cuba

Group B
1. Costa Rica
2. Haiti
3. Nicaragua
4. Bermuda

Group C
1. Jamaica
2. Honduras
3. El Salvador
4. Curacao

Group D
1. USA
2. Panama
3. Trinidad and Tobago
4. Guyana


Nick Mendola

Group A
1. Mexico
2. Canada
3. Martinique
4. Cuba

Group B
1. Costa Rica
2. Haiti
3. Bermuda
4. Nicaragua

Group C
1. Jamaica
2. Honduras
3. Curacao
4. El Salvador

Group D
1. USMNT
2. Trinidad and Tobago
3. Panama
4. Guyana


Daniel Karell

Group A
1. Mexico
2. Cuba
3. Canada
4. Martinique

Group B
1. Costa Rica
2. Haiti
3. Bermuda
4. Nicaragua

Group C
1. Jamaica
2. Honduras
3. Curacao
4. El Salvador

Group D
1. USA
2. Trinidad and Tobago
3. Panama
4. Guyana

2019 Gold Cup full schedule, kick off times, venues

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Get excited. The 2019 Gold Cup on U.S. soil (with a few games in Costa Rica and Jamaica) is almost here, as 16 teams set out to be crowned the champions of the CONCACAF region.

[ MORE: Latest 2019 Gold Cup news ]

The reigning champs are the U.S. men’s national team but Gregg Berhalter’s men aren’t favorites to win the tournament this time around as Mexico, led by Tata Martino, are the bookies pick to win it all this summer. A lot has changed for the U.S. since they won it in 2017 under Bruce Arena…

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores

Watch out for Jamaica with Leon Bailey, and both Costa Rica and Honduras will be tough to get past in the coming weeks as Canada are also outside bets to have a good run in the Gold Cup with Junior Hoilett and Alphonso Davies leading their charge.

Below is a look at the full schedule for the tournament, complete with the venues being used, kick off times and the knockout round bracket as things kick off on June 15 with the final on July 7 at Soldier Field in Chicago.


Group stage

Group A
June 15: Canada v. Martinique – 7:30 p.m. ET at Rose Bowl, Pasadena
June 15: Mexico v. Cuba – 10 p.m. ET at Rose Bowl, Pasadena
June 19: Cuba v. Martinique – 8 p.m. ET at Mile High Stadium, Denver
June 19: Mexico v. Canada – 10:30 p.m. ET at Mile High Stadium, Denver
June 23: Canada v. Cuba – 6 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
June 23: Martinique v. Mexico – 8:30 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

Group B
June 16: Haiti v. Bermuda – 6 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
June 16: Costa Rica v. Nicaragua – 8:30 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
June 20: Nicaragua v. Haiti – 7 p.m. ET at Toyota Stadium, Frisco
June 20: Costa Rica v. Bermuda – 9:30 p.m. ET at Toyota Stadium, Frisco
June 24: Bermuda v. Nicaragua – 6:30 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena, Harrison
June 24: Haiti v. Costa Rica – 9 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena, Harrison

Group C
June 17: Curacao v. El Salvador – 7 p.m. ET at Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica
June 17: Jamaica v. Honduras – 9:30 p.m. at Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica
June 21: El Salvador v. Jamaica – 7 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
June 21: Honduras v. Curacao – 9:30 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
June 25: Jamaica v. Curacao – 8 p.m. ET at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles
June 25: Honduras v. El Salvador – 10:30 p.m. ET at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles

Group D
June 18: Panama v. Trinidad & Tobago – 7:30 p.m. ET at Allianz Field, Saint Paul
June 18: United States v. Guyana – 10 p.m. ET at Allianz Field, Saint Paul
June 22: Guyana v. Panama – 5:30 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
June 22: United States v. Trinidad & Tobago – 8 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
June 26: Trinidad & Tobago v. Guyana – 6:30 p.m. ET at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City
June 26: Panama v. United States – 9 p.m. ET at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City

Quarterfinals

June 29
Match 25: Winner Group B v. Runner-up Group A – 7 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium, Houston
Match 26: Winner Group A v. Runner-up Group B – 10 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium, Houston

June 30
Match 27: Winner Group C vs. Runner-up Group D – 5:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Match 28: Winner Group D vs. Runner-up Group C – 8:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

Semifinals

July 2
Match 29: Winners of Match 25 vs. Winners of Match 26 – 10:30 p.m. ET at State Farm Stadium, Glendale

July 3
Match 30: Winners of Match 27 vs. Winners of Match 28 – 9:30 p.m. ET at Nissan Stadium, Nashville

Final

July 7
Winners of Match 29 vs. Winners of Match 30 – 9:15 p.m. ET at Soldier Field, Chicago