Raul Jimenez and Marco Fabian scored for Mexico in a 2-0 win against Canada on Thursday in a Group A match-up at CenturyLink Field.
The victory gave the Mexicans their first three points of the tournament with one group game against Martinique to be played Sunday in Denver. Mexico and the Caribbean side are tied for second with three points each, but El Tri holds the tie-breaker with a better goal differential. Panama, which beat Martinique 1-0 in the first game of a doubleheader, leads the group with six points. Canada has no points and is close to elimination.
Jimenez propelled Mexico into a 1-0 lead in the 42nd minute, when he sent in a header past Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan in front of 28,354, the largest-ever Gold Cup crowd in Seattle. Jorge Enriquez flicked a right-sided corner kick with his right heel, directing it to the heart of the six-yard box, towards where the Club America forward was charging. It was Jimenez’s first goal with the national team.
Fabian added the second score in the 57th minute via a penalty kick. The Guadalajara striker fell just inside the area while pursuing a Rafael Marquez Lugo through ball that rolled between the two center backs. He buried the spot kick himself into the lower left corner of the net, prompting a celebration with his teammates.
Mexico, which bounced back from its Gold Cup opening loss to Panama (2-1) on Sunday, came out looking to find the net from the opening kick-off, sending its lines up field, creating a handful of scoring chances within the first 23 minutes.
Fabian, Marquez Lugo and Luis Montes each had opportunities during that stretch, which Canada did well to thwart.
Before the first goal, the Maple Leafs sat back and waited for a chance to create a threat. It got one in the 29th minute, as the imposing Marcus Haber nearly scored off a header.
Canada was unlucky not to get on the scoreboard as the clock wound down. A Marcel De Jong free kick ricocheted off goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco’s crossbar in the 89th minute.
Both teams came into the game with changes to their starting lineups. Mexico opted to go with Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Montes and Layun, none of whom featured in the first 11 against Panama on Sunday.
Canada’s alterations were almost forced on interim head coach Colin Miller, who was missing captain Will Johnson (illness), Russell Teibert (illness) and Simeon Johnson. Issey Nakajima-Farran, Kyle Bekker and Jonathan Osorio took their place.
Miller’s squad will have one more shot at earning points in the tournament, when it faces group leader Panama in the first game of Sunday’s Group A doubleheader.