When it comes to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, perhaps no two teams know more about what it takes to win the title than Mexico and the United States.
The two countries combine for 11 Gold Cup titles, and Mexico has won the event a record six times. The two countries have faced off in the championship for the Carribean and North and Central America in three of the past four Gold Cups, the most recent meeting coming in 2011.
But for Mexico to add another championship to its resume, coach Miguel Herrera says it’s imperative to focus on the next opponent and not look ahead to another potential showdown with the U.S.
“If you want to be the champion, you can’t think you have to wait until the final to face the U.S. national team,” said Herrera through an interpreter Tuesday at Bank of America Stadium.
“This is what we’re here for, to win the game. No matter who your opener is, you have to win and you have to score goals.”
Entering Wednesday’s Group C match against Trinidad and Tobago. Mexico sits in second place and has already secured a spot in the knockout stage. The 8:30 p.m. match will determine first place in the group, as Mexico currently trails Trinidad and Tobago by two points.
But Mexico has been inconsistent thus far in the tournament. After a 6-0 triumph over Cuba in its opening game, Mexico managed a 0-0 draw against Guatemala’s physical defense Sunday, breaking its streak of 32 Gold Cup matches with at least one goal.
“I knew in the beginning it was going to be difficult in that aspect,” said defender Miguel Layun about Mexico being targeted defensively. “We know in the last match the only opportunity Guatemala had was a 0-0. The most important thing is to keep focused on our objective. Even though we didn’t get the results we wanted, our main objective will be the same, to win the match.”
▪ Herrera didn’t make any announcements about his lineup Tuesday, saying he wanted to watch his team’s evening training session first. One possible change could be forward Giovani Dos Santos, who has scored 17 goals in 88 appearances with Mexico. He’s come off the bench this tournament.
▪ More than 45,000 tickets have been sold for Wednesday’s doubleheader at Bank of America Stadium.
Several fans clad in green, white and red and sporting Mexico national team gear were outside the stadium Tuesday.
“I always say its an extra plus for us,” Layun said about Mexico’s strong fan contingent. “They are very important, and I think we have (Wednesday) a very important match for us. We have to keep going and think of winning (Wednesday). I think it’s the most important thing for us having our supporters around us.”