SEATTLE – It was an improved performance after their disappointing start to the Gold Cup, but the Canadian national team is still looking for its first point of the competition after dropping a 2-0 decision to Mexico at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night.
Raul Jiménez headed in a corner kick late in the first half and Marco Fabián converted a penalty he had dubiously won in the 57th minute as the Mexicans got their first win of the tournament.
The win keeps Mexico's chances of winning the group or at least advancing to the Quarterfinals alive when they face Martinique at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday afternoon (4 pm. MT, BUY TICKETS HERE or at stadium box office).
El Tri dominated possession early but Canada remained compact to largely keep them to the outside as slowly but surely the Canadians found their legs.
In the 29th minute, Canada won a free kick just inside the Mexico half on the right side after some good passing kept the Mexicans off-guard. Toronto FC midfielder Kyle Bekker took the set piece, which was earmarked for Marcus Haber at the back post. Despite being marked well, Haber rose well and forced a fine diving save from Jonathan Orozco.
Already with a depleted lineup for a number of reasons, Canada had Haber limp off at halftime with an apparent injury. He never came back for the second half and was replaced by Tosaint Ricketts.
With three minutes remaining in the first half, Fabian forced Milan Borjan to make a quality save that went out for a corner. With that chance, Jorge Enríquez took a near-post corner kick that was flicked into the middle. Jiménez was left unmarked and his diving header found the target.
Canada came out with some decent spells in possession to start the second half but there wasn’t much they could do when Fabian tried running onto a through ball in the 57th minute. Fabián was a good yard past defender David Edgar before he theatrically tumbled to the pitch and despite Canada’s protests, the penalty was given.
Fabián coolly stepped up and sent Borjan the wrong way. Borjan dove to his left with the ball finding the corner to his right.
Canada very nearly had a goal in the 89th minute when left back Marcel de Jong’s powerful left-footed free kick rattled off the crossbar and Mexico almost had a third as they hit the crossbar in injury time.
El Tri finish up the group stage on Sunday against Martinique, while Canada face Panama, currently the top team in Group A with six points from two games. The Canadians still have a mathematical chance to advance to the quarterfinals, though they need the right combination of results to pull that off.