CHARLOTTE, North Carolina. El Tri looked to finish their Group A schedule with a 100% record. Two second half goals from Raúl Jimenez (61’) and Fernando Navarro (72’) helped Mexico overcome a first half free kick goal by Kevin Parsemain (38’) and late consolation goal by Jordy Delem (84’).
Despite opening the match with seven changes in their starting lineup from Wednesday’s win against Canada, Mexico opened the match seeking to create, but had seen few chances. Unlike Canada and Cuba, Martinique’s defenders happened to recover their position in time to diffuse many of Mexico’s early chances. Martinique also showed their attacking liveliness early on the counter, and forced Jonathan Orozco to at least throw himself at a couple shots and theoughballs played his way.
However, Uriel Antuna secured Mexico’s opener twenty-eight minutes in with a dribble from the left flank and a shot that beat Martinique goalkeeper Loïc Chauvet by his near post.
Mexico’s first half lead only lasted ten minutes as Kevin Parsemain curled a free kick beyond the reach of Jonathan Orozco to bring Les Matinino back on level terms at 1-1.
The second half saw Mexico introduce Rodolfo Pizarro into the Gold Cup for the first time as a substitute, and immediately he seemed to have a role in restoring Mexico’s ability to make danger in the attack.
Sixty-one minutes in, Rodolfo Pizarro played the facilitating role in a triangulation that helped Raúl Jimenez restore Mexico’s advantage. Pizarro’s low cross found Jimenez inside the six free of his marker and Jimenez finished with a side-footed tap-in.
Eleven minutes after scoring their go-ahead goal, Jimenez facilitated Fernando Navarro’s successful shot to extend Mexico’s lead to 3-1.
From that point, the match became an exercise in failed chances for Mexico as Jonathan Dos Santos, Rodolfo Pizarro, and Uriel Antuna were among the players to miss chances late in the match.
Six minutes from the end of the 90, Martinique cut the deficit to one goal through a quickly fired shot by Jordy Delem. A Mexico defender slipped during the set piece that produced his goal, resulting in the space for Delem to shoot. Ultimately, it was not enough for Martinique (1-0-2, 3 points) to take anything from the game (other than their performances.
The win resulted in El Tri (3-0-0, 9 winning Group A, and advancing to the quarterfinal at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. There, they will face Costa Rica (2-0-1, 6 pts), who finished second in Group B on Saturday, June 29. Canada (2-0-1, 6 pts) who finished second in Group A with a 7-0 defeat of Cuba, will take on Haiti on the same day and in the same stadium.
Mexico will have to worry about yellow card suspensions their next game for the first time, as Uriel Antuna, Andrés Guardado, and Gerardo Martino all were cautioned during the match.
Martinique also will lose Jordy Delem for its first Nations League game due to a yellow card he picked up early on in Les Matinino’s losing effort. They do not play again until their CONCACAF Nations League A League campaign begins on September 5, when they host Trinidad and Tobago.