The last time someone had scored a goal against Mexico, the date was Oct. 10, 2015 and said goal proved futile for Bobby Wood and the rest of the U.S. national team in their 3-2 CONCACAF Cup defeat.
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El Tri entered Sunday’s 2016 Copa America Centenario opener against (a Luis Suarez-less) Uruguay having not conceded a goal in 730 minutes of play (that’s eight full games, plus 10 minutes). At the final whistle inside the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., Juan Carlo Osorio’s side had finally conceded a goal but were 3-1 victors over the 15-time Copa America winners, their streak extended to 804 minutes (six minutes shy of nine full games) before it was broken by a late equalizer.
Mexico got on the board early, four minutes into the game, when Alvaro Pereira got onto the end of Andres Guardado’s cross and unknowingly headed the ball into his own net, scoring the fastest own goal ever score in the 100-year history over Copa America.
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21 minutes later, Guardado was perhaps lucky to not be sent off for a wild, sliding tackle that took out the legs of Carlos Sanchez (below video). No such luck for Uruguay’s Matias Vecino, who was shown his second yellow card of the game in the 45th minute. Down a goal, and now down to 10 men.
Uruguay had a brilliant chance for an equalizer that came and went in the 58th minute, when a turnover inside Mexico’s defensive half of the field launched a quick counter-attack the other way. Diego Rolan was the man who eventually fired the shot, but his left-footed strike bounced wide of Alfredo Talavera’s right-hand post.
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It was Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin who bagged the equalizer and broke Mexico’s streak. Coincidentally, the goal came off the restart after Guardado was shown a second yellow card and sent for an early shower.
Then, it was time for perhaps one of the last heroic moments of 37-year-old Rafa Marquez’s legendary career. It had to be Marquez. It just had to be. Hector Herrera added an insurance goal in the 90th minute, heading home from Raul Jimenez’s floated ball across the box.
When Group C play resumes on Thursday, Uruguay will face Venezuela at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Penn., with group-leading Mexico doing battle with Jamaica at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., later that evening..