PASADENA, California – Uriel Antuna had a Concacaf Gold Cup debut to remember, as he scored a hat-trick in Mexico’s 7-0 triumph over Cuba in Group A on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Following the match, the FW spoke with Concacaf.com about his star performance, and how Saturday night was the fulfillment of a boyhood dream.
“It was always a dream for me as a small child to play this tournament. From the moment the list was announced I made it my objective to be here and now I have the opportunity and thanks to God I am able to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Antuna.
Antuna was a late inclusion onto the Mexico roster, replacing the injured Jorge Sanchez, and there is no question that the 21-year-old made the most of his start on Saturday night for Head Coach Gerardo Martino.
“I am very happy with the opportunity that coach Gerardo Martino is giving me. I am happy to be here. I will always give my all with at every national team level I have had the opportunity to play in. I am very happy I was able to score but the team played a great game, so I am very happy to be here,” said Antuna.
Adding to the magic of Antuna’s night was the fact that his hat trick came in Los Angeles, the same city where he plays his club football with Los Angeles Galaxy.
“Yes, it’s a very special feeling [to play for my national team in Los Angeles]. Ever since I came to Los Angeles the people have treated me very well, the fans have been amazing, and I have felt at home ever since I first came here,” said Antuna.
Next up for Mexico is a clash with Canada on Wednesday in Denver, Colorado. With a player like Antuna brimming with confidence, great things are very possible for Mexico in this Gold Cup.
“The truth is Mexico has demonstrated since the friendly games that the team is ready for big things. The coach’s style of play is very clear, and I think we are going to do important things in this Cup,” concluded Antuna.