Mexico falls short of repeat, lauds Gold Cup effort
Action from the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal between Mexico (green jersey) and Jamaica on July 23, 2017, in Pasadena, California, USA. (Photo: AFP Services)

PASADENA, California – After lifting the trophy a record seven times, Mexico has defined success in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in so many ways over the years.

On Sunday night, the 2015 champion tasted the sting of defeat in a stunning 1-0 semifinal loss to Jamaica at the Rose Bowl.

“The word failure is not to my liking,” said Mexico assistant coach Luis Pompilio Paez, who led the team from the sidelines while head coach Juan Carlos Osorio served a six-match suspension handed down by FIFA.  “Everyone is free to have an opinion on if this is failure or not.

“If you look at it as we have failed to reach the final game, then it is.  Today was a game where Mexico was the dominant team.  This is football sometimes.”

A lack of effort certainly wasn't the reason for the Tricolor’s downfall.  Against Jamaica, it enjoyed greater ball possession and created more opportunities.

“The execution in the last 20 meters, the execution on the last pass, it wasn’t there,” Paez remarked.  “The strategy was right, but the players couldn’t execute.”

The Mexicans top the CONCACAF Hexagonal table with a 4W-2D-0L mark and is almost assured a place at Russia 2018.  Now, they will look ahead to the next challenge, hosting Panama in a World Cup qualifier on September 1.  Osorio will have to sit out that match as well to complete the ban.

"This is a process, and it takes a lot of work to get a team that can compete in a World Cup," finished Paez.  "This is not a sufficient result, but this is the middle of the process.  I saw a team that gave everything.  We always respect what the other team does.  We just needed to get a goal, and we didn't have the right circumstances."