Measured Mexico targets Gold Cup final return
Mexico’s Orbelin Pineda (#7) looks to make a pass against Honduras during their CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal on July 20, 2017, in Glendale, Arizona, USA. (Photo: AFP Services)

GLENDALE, Phoenix -- When you think of Mexican heroes in the CONCACAF Gold Cup through the years, Javier Hernandez, Andres Guardado and Luis Roberto Alves inevitably come to mind.

 This year's squad – comprised almost entirely of players who did not compete in the FIFA Confederations Cup -- has taken a more calculated approach.  The level of success, however, remains solid and similar.

 Through the quarterfinals, the Tricolor has netted six goals in four games with the scoring spread out among six players, while its defense has conceded once and will bring a 350-minute shutout streak into Sunday's semifinal against Jamaica.

 "Many teams are playing back defensively against us," goalkeeper Jesus Corona said.  "We are not losing our minds.  We're trying to be really balanced to have the ball in our possession.  If we do this against Jamaica, we will keep on growing."

 The 2015 finalists met earlier in the competition, playing to a scoreless draw in Group C play on July 13.

 "We already know Jamaica," commented assistant coach Luis Pompilio Paez, who is guiding the team from the sidelines while head coach Juan Carlos Osorio continues to serve a six-game suspension.  "We have a lot more knowledge about their players.  We have a lot of respect for our rivals, but we believe we have enough tools to conquer this rival and be in the final."

 The final-four encounter will be played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, a venue at which Mexico has enjoyed much success.  It captured Gold Cup and CONCACAF Cup titles there in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

 "The next match is going to be much more a desire to please because we're going to be feeling at home," Paez concluded. "We hope to make it to the finals, to satisfy everyone and ourselves."