2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals: Mexico vs Panama
2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals
Mexico vs Panama
Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 10:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Soccer, Univision
Cowboys Stadium – Arlington, Texas
All Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Betting Line: Mexico -1/2 -110 / Panama +1/2 -120
Total: under 2 1/2 -160 / over 2 1/2 +130
Three Way Line: Panama +285 / Mexico -117 / Draw +215
(All three wagers include regulation and stoppage time only, not extra time or shootout)
It hasn’t been a good year for Mexican soccer. The team finds itself mired in third place in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying and in a dog fight with Honduras and Panama for the last automatic spot. Mexico also lost in the group stage of last month’s FIFA Confederations Cup. Mexico sent their B team to the CONCACAF Gold Cup and were upset 2-1 by Panama in the first game of the group stage.
Now Mexico looks for revenge as they get Panama again in the semifinals of the tournament Wednesday night in Arlington, Texas. The winner will take on either the United States or Honduras in Sunday’s Championship game in Chicago.
Panama won Group A with 7 points. After the Mexico win, Panama beat Martinique 1-0 and played Canada to a 0-0 draw. Panama rested most of their starters in the Canada game after Marea Rojo had already qualified for the knockout stage.
Panama crushed Cuba 6-1 in the quarterfinals Saturday in Atlanta. Forwards Blas Perez and Manuel Torres each scored 2 goals for Panama. Cuba took a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick at 21 minutes. Panama evened it up on a penalty kick of their own from Torres 4 minutes later. Cuba played a man down after a red card to forward Ariel Martinez Gonzales at 58 minutes.
Mexico finished second in group A with 6 points. After the Panama loss, Mexico rebounded with wins over Canada 2-0 and Martinique 3-1.
Mexico played Trinidad and Tobago in the quarterfinals Saturday also in Atlanta. Despite outshooting Trinidad & Tobago 23-7, Mexico was unable to score until Raul Jimenez scored in the 85th minute to give El Tricolor the narrow 1-0 win. While Mexico escaped with the win against a lesser Trinidad team, they will have to play much better against Panama or it could be another disappointing finish.
Mexico leads the series 4-3-1 against Panama. The two teams played to a scoreless draw last month in Panama City in World Cup qualifying.
Mexico is coached by Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre. The embattled de la Torre probably won’t be fired with a loss here, as Mexico sent their B team to this event, but he could certainly lose his job if the poor play of Mexico doesn’t improve by the end of the year.de la Torre will employ his usual 4-4-2 attack. Midfielder Marco Fabian has 3 goals in the tournament so far. Goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco started the games against Panama, Canada and Trinidad but was rested in the Martinique game. Moises Munoz started that game.
Panama is managed by Julio Cesar Dely Valdes. he will also employ a 4-4-2 attack led by Perez and Torres. Torres has 5 goals in the tournament so far. Perez missed the first game against Mexico as he was playing for the MLS’s FC Dallas. Keeper Jamie Penedo looks to keep a clean sheet.
The pitch is expected to be rough with bumps and gashes. FIFA has a rule that all sanctioned games must be played on Natural grass. This means even in stadiums with artificial turf like Cowboys Stadium grass must be placed down.
Look, Mexico problem’s come down to a lack of scoring. I don’t know if El Tri solves those problems tonight, but they should be out for revenge. Still Panama has the very good shot of pulling off the upset against a team they have already beaten once this month. I think Mexico escapes with a win in penalty kicks but it could be a scoreless draw until then.
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