Things have not gone as planned for Mexico in the 2013 Gold Cup. The Concacaf titans reached the quarterfinals with something to spare, but finishing second in their group in a competition in which they are the two-time defending champions doesn’t exactly yet warrant any mass celebrations. Few expect El Tri to be unduly troubled in the last eight against Trinidad and Tobago, but coach Jose Manuel de la Torre knows that every result and every performance could now have a significant bearing on how long he remains in charge.
De la Torre’s job was in real jeopardy after a shock 2-1 loss to Panama in his side’s opening match of the Concacaf championship, but he has so far survived courtesy of a 2-0 win over Canada followed-up by a 3-1 victory over Martinique that secured a quarterfinal berth. And the under-fire coach claims that he is relishing the pressure on himself and the team.
“We have to keep working to find the answer to win the Gold Cup,” he said, according to MLSSoccer.com. “So, pressure or no pressure, that’s the way it is. That’s the way it is with the Mexican national team. You have to understand that and know that.”
“Of course winning is always good. After we win, we always analyze ourselves,” de la Torre said. “We look at the things we need to fix in our analysis, our errors, pick out the good. The pressure helps us get the result.”
Trinidad and Tobago, though, will hope to take advantage of any vulnerability in Atlanta on Saturday. The Caribbean nation finished second behind Honduras in Group C, but a 2-0 loss to Haiti showed their limitations. Stephen Hart’s side do have real pedigree up front, however, in Kenwyne Jones from English Premier League side Stoke City. Captain Densill Theobald explained that his side was relishing being in the latter stages of the competition.
“This whole experience is massive for us,” he said, according to the Trinidad Express. “We feel privileged to have reached the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup and I think the boys are really up for it right now. Mexico will be tough to overcome but we intend to be tough opponents as well.”
D: Layun, Huiqui, Valenzuela, Aldrete
M: Fabian, Pena, Castro, Montes
F: Jiminez, Marquez Lugo
Trinidad and Tobago (probable)
D: Mitchell, Cyrus, Abu, J. Jones
M:Boucard, Circhall, Molino
F: Glen, K. Jones, Roberts
Prediction: Mexico continue to fail to inspire but they should still progress with a degree of comfort to the last four. Although Kenwyne Jones could cause a somewhat suspect Mexican defense problems, El Tri should have too much quality.
Mexico 3-1 Trinidad and Tobago
Where to watch: The Gold Cup quarterfinal will kick-off from the Georgia Dome at 6.30 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Channel, with a live stream available on Fox Soccer 2Go.