Mexico start their defense of the U-17 CONCACAF Championship as they face El Salvador in Panama City, Panama. Mexico are playing in Group C, the toughest group in the tournament, with El Salvador, United States and Jamaica. With the second best team in the tournament in the same group, and only two spots available for the next round, it's a must-win game for Mexico.
Mexico is coming into the tournament as the defending champion and one of the top teams of the competition, if not the top team. But they are coming in without their best player, Diego Lainez, who chose to stay with Liga MX’s Club America. They still have some very talented players like Ian Jairo Torres, Roberto de la Rosa, Luis Olivas and Alfonso Alvarado. They also have the more accomplished preparations (along with the United States) in relation to the other CONCACAF teams.
Still, El Salvador is an unknown and had a similar situation in the U-20 tournament when they opened up against Costa Rica. Against the host, they stunned the local crowd with a 1-0 victory as they cruised into the next round. Their streak in that tournament was ended by Mexico with a 6-1 victory and ultimately the young “Selecta” failed to qualify to the World Cup.
That said, the U-17 level is the most inconsistent of all age groups, and El Salvador has been a tough team for Mexico in the past. In fact. it's a tough group all around, but compared to the US and Jamaica, El Salvador looks to be the weakest team. In that regard, Mexico has to be at their best for things to be set for their next game against the United States, the toughest rival in the group and possibly the competition.
Date: Sunday, April 23
Time: 1:00 PM Pacific, 3:00 PM Central, 4:00 PM Eastern
Venue: Estadio Maracana, Panama City, Mexico
Television: Univision Deportes Network (US), TVC Deportes (Mexico)