Canada are looking to pile further misery on Mexico and their beleaguered coach Jose Manuel de la Torre as both sides strive to keep their Gold Cup campaigns alive when they meet in Seattle on Thursday. El Tri were already at a low ebb when they arrived at the Concacaf championship following a poor start to the final round of World Cup qualifying and a failure to display any significant improvement at the Confederations Cup. Still, despite bringing essentially a B side to the Gold Cup, few expected what was to come in the opening game against a weakened Panama side.
A 2-1defeat was a new low and left De la Torre facing more questions over his future than ever before. A loss to Canada and Mexico could well fail to get out of the competition’s group stage for the first time in its history and possibly make their coach’s job untenable. While fans have continued to show their increasing dissent with De la Torre’s leadership, the former Toluca and Guadalajara manager tried to point the finger at the media.
“If I paid attention to all the nonsense [the press] says, I'd be sick, in a hospital,” De la Torres said defiantly in a press conference before the match at CenturyLink Field, according to Goal.com. “I never think about losing,”
However, De la Torre does look likely to make changes from the side that came up short on Sunday. “We are contemplating that and looking at that,” he added, reports the Concacaf website. “We have confidence in these players. If they are here it is because we believe in them. They understand it and they understand what we ask of them.”
Canada also fell to defeat in hugely disappointing circumstances in their opening game, going down 1-0 to Martinique. But veteran midfielder Julian de Guzman is keen to capitalize on Mexico’s vulnerability.
“I think they’re going through a very difficult time so it’s a good chance for us to use that to our advantage, but at the same time I think it’s important for us to play our game and show that we still have football in us,” he said, according to the Major League soccer website. “Mexico right now has their backs against the wall, but I wouldn’t put it past them that they’re going to bring their best football out there.”
D: I. Jimenez, Huiqui, Pereira, Aldrete
Brizuela, Enriquez, Pena, Fabian
F: Marquez Lugo, R. Jimenez
D: Ledgerwood, Edgar, Henry, De Jong
M: Pacheco, De Guzman
Porter, Osorio, Nakajima-Farran
Prediction: Canada have suffered several blows in the buildup to their second match with captain Will Johnson and Simeon Jackson and Randy Edwini-Bonsu having been ruled out of the squad. However, Mexico’s greatest enemy right now is themselves with De la Torre’s conservative nature continuing to fail to get the best out of whichever group of players he is marshaling. Still, it is almost unthinkable to think that El Tri won’t pick up a win against Canada and earn their coach a reprieve for another day.
Mexico 2-0 Canada
Where to watch: The Concacaf Gold Cup Group A match will kick-off at 11 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Channel and UniMas, with a live stream available on Fox Soccer 2Go.