Mexico (pictured) needs to defeat Trinidad & Tobago on July 15, 2015, in Charlotte, North Carolina, in order to capture first place in Group C. (Photo: Mexsport)
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – The Group C title will be decided Wednesday night as second-place Mexico takes on table-topping Trinidad & Tobago in the last 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup group-stage game. It’s a rematch of their 2013 Gold Cup quarterfinal, which the Mexicans narrowly won, 1-0, on a late Raul Jimenez goal.
Here are Three Points to consider ahead of the game:
1) Top spot on the line
To the victor goes first place in Group C as Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago will conclude group play. The Soca Warriors are the current group leaders, sitting on six points after impressive victories over Guatemala (3-1) and Cuba (2-0), while Mexico – the most successful team in Gold Cup history with six titles – trails by two. Trinidad and Tobago needs only a draw to clinch first place. The eventual group champ will meet Panama in the quarterfinals, while the loser has a date with Costa Rica.
2) Mexico searching for consistency
It has been a tournament of ups and downs so far for Mexico. After dismantling Cuba, 6-0 in its opener, the six-time Gold Cup champion sputtered to a scoreless draw with Guatemala, the first time that the Tricolor was shutout in 32 Gold Cup matches. However, it’s difficult to imagine Mexico’s offensive struggles persisting. Head coach Miguel Herrera’s men are absolutely stacked in the offensive third. Even without the services of star striker Javier Hernandez – who was ruled out of the tournament with a collarbone injury – Mexico still boasts a trinity of world class attacking talent in Carlos Vela, Giovani Dos Santos and Oribe Peralta. Expect a much-improved performance from Mexico on Wednesday.
3) The Soca Warriors are clicking offensively
The main question surrounding Trinidad & Tobago heading in to Gold Cup play was their ability to score goals, especially with a knee injury that kept that Kevin Molino out of the tournament. It was justified consternation as the Soca Warriors had gone 450 minutes of action, prior to their tournament opener, since last registering a goal. However, through two games, Trinidad’s struggles seem but a distant memory. The Caribbean runner-up has demonstrated no problems creating opportunities in the attacking third, scoring five times. While previous iterations have relied heavily on the prowess of Kenwyne Jones, this year’s Trinidad squad has shown depth getting forward, courtesy of Major League Soccer duo Cordell Cato and Joevin Jones…plus, Sheldon Bateau, who has scored in each of the team’s first two games.