DENVER – The two favorites of Group A met on Wednesday night at Broncos Stadium at Mile High as Mexico and Canada faced off in their second match of Gold Cup action.
By night’s end, a goal from Roberto Alvarado and a brace from Andres Guardado helped lock up a 3-1 win for the Mexicans, giving El Tri sole possession atop the group and putting them in the driver’s seat to advance in the tournament.
Despite its loss, Canada remains in second place in the group and in good position to advance due to its 4-0 win over Martinique during its opening match of the tournament. Earlier Wednesday night, Martinique earned a decisive 3-0 win over Cuba, but it remains in third place due to goal differential and total goals scored.
“Obviously disappointed with the result, but happy that we fought through the end of the game and happy with my team’s performance,” Canadian goal scorer Lucas Cavallini said. “There’s always revenge.”
The Canadians began the match with a starting XI laden with MLS talent. Six MLS players featured in Canada’s lineup as well as former MLS players Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) and Cyle Larin (Besiktas).
Conversely, Mexico’s lineup featured two MLS players in LA Galaxy duo Jonathan Dos Santos and Uriel Antuna.
Les Rouges found themselves on the back foot for much of the first half, largely weathering the storm until Cruz Azul’s Roberto Alvarado broke the deadlock in the 40th minute. Alvarado’s left-footed strike from close range gave El Tri a 1-0 lead entering halftime.
It capped a first half during which the Mexicans dominated with more than 72% possession, out-shooting Canada 10-4.
Canada nearly found an equalizer in the 54th as Davies put a shot from near the end line across the face of Mexico’s goal, but it missed just wide and outside of the far post.
However, less than a minute later, El Tri responded with its second goal. Substitute Andres Guardado hit a laser from more than 20 yards out, beating Canadian ’keeper Milan Borjan to extend Mexico’s lead to 2-0.
Canada pulled a goal back in the 75th minute as substitute Jonathan David won the ball high up the pitch, dishing it to Cavallini, who tapped in the easy finish to draw the score within 2-1.
“He’s got the courage, he’s got the bravery and that’s what excites us,” Canada head coach John Herdman said of David’s performance.
“It’s something big to score against Mexico,” added Cavallini. “The best team in Concacaf right now.”
But Mexico responded moments later with another goal from Guardado, extending the lead to 3-1 in the 78th minute.
With the win, Mexico remains undefeated in the 2019 Gold Cup, while Canada remains in good position to advance, facing underdogs Cuba during its final group match on Sunday.
Group A action will wrap up on June 23, with Canada facing Cuba (6 p.m. ET) and Mexico facing Martinique (8:30 p.m. ET) at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.