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Mexico cruise to Gold Cup semifinal after dominating Honduras

Mexico gave a dominating performance as they defeated Honduras 3-0 in their Quarterfinal matchup.

SOCCER: JUL 24 Concacaf Gold Cup Quarterfinal - Mexico v Honduras Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Mexico had their best performance in the Gold Cup against a battered Honduras, getting a 3-0 win in the quarterfinals. It was back to “normal” in the stands as once again Mexico had the home support in a sold out stadium. Mexico completely dominated a Honduras team, who had a lot of missing players as well as their coach because of injuries and COVID-19 illness. Mexico will now travel to Houston to face Canada in the semifinals where they will have a tougher test.

Mexico came out with the same lineup as past games, with the two exceptions of Nestor Araujo taking the place of injured Carlos Salcedo and Jonathan Dos Santos starting over Erick Gutierrez. Mexico threatened just two minutes in when off a free kick, Hector Herrera rose to head the ball and forced a big save from Honduras’ goalkeeper Luis Lopez. A couple of minutes later, Orbelin Pineda found Rogelio Funes Mori who went past Lopez, but his shot was saved off the line by an Honduras defender. Mexico had another chance when Dos Santos got the ball in the area, but Lopez did a good job of taking the ball off his feet. Later Pineda got the ball in the area, but his shot went wide. Mexico had a number of chances in the first 10 minutes but failed to score. Mexico came close again when off of a corner kick, Hector Moreno just missed getting a header but the ball went past several players and unfortunately for Mexico, none could connect with the ball. Then off of a cross from Jesus Gallardo, Funes Mori was able to volley the ball and score but it was ruled to be offside although replays were kind of dubious. Then after a couple of minutes, Luis Rodriguez was given the time to get a cross into the area and Rogelio Funes Mori got a wide open header which went past Lopez for the 1-0 lead. Mexico had their deserved lead as they totally dominated the match.

A couple of minutes later, Mexico had a good run when Pineda crossed into the area to Herrera, who tried to head it back to Funes Mori. A Honduras defender cleared the ball, but right into the path of Jonathan Dos Santos, who connected with a great volley to score the 2-0 past Lopez. Mexico now had the battered Honduras side in trouble with another goal and were in complete control of the match. Honduras started to get frustrated and the game started to get chippy, with Jesus Corona especially getting constantly kicked by the Honduran defenders. Honduras had a great opportunity when a long ball fell to Jerry Bengtson, and Mexico’s goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera did a terrible job of coming out for the ball, but Bengtson had a very poor shot when a lob would have probably resulted in a goal for Honduras. Mexico then responded quickly when Herrera made a good pass to Corona, who then made a great cross into the area that found Orbelin Pineda. Pineda made a great header that went past Lopez for 3-0 lead. It looked like Mexico had killed off the game, as they were in complete control of the match and had a deserved score. Herrera had a try from almost the halfway line, but Lopez was able to get to it and not be surprised. In the last minute, Honduras would have their best chance when Diego Rodriguez got off a shot that forced Talavera to make a great save as most where expecting him to cross the ball in the area. There was no more time and Mexico had finished a totally dominating performance in the first half with a 3-0 lead.

The second half started with Honduras needing to come back and subbing out Kevin Lopez and Bryan Acosta for Boniek Garcia and Jhon Benavidez. Mexico had a great chance when a low cross by Gallardo was cleared by Maynor Figueroa, who if he wouldn’t it would have gotten to a wide open Funes Mori. Honduras would respond when Bengston would get off a shot that would force Talavera to make a good save. Mexico continued to dominate possession although a lot less offensive as they were comfortable passing the ball and tiring out an Honduras side that looked to be finished. Mexico looked to have scored after a cross to Rogelio Funes Mori fell to the feet of Hector Moreno, who knocked into the net but he was correctly ruled to be offside. Mexico subbed out Jonthan Dos Santos and Nestor Araujo for Erick Gutierrez and Carlos Salcedo. Mexico started to lower their intensity as Honduras couldn’t quite respond, knowing that they had a semifinal match to play and that the match could turn chippy as it did in the first half. Honduras subbed in Franklin Flores for Diego Rodriguez. After seeming to have gotten injured after a foul, Edson Alvarez was subbed out for Alan Cervantes, who was making his debut in the tournament. Mexico closed out the match by subbing out Rogelio Funes Mori and Jesus Corona for Alan Pulido and newly arrived Rodolfo Pizarro. Mexico didn’t have much trouble except after a bad mistake by Cervantes that allowed Herrera to get a harsh foul as he got back the ball, and it led to a yellow to the Honduras player. Mexico ran out the last minutes with possession and closed out their dominant performance.

Mexico had by far their best game of the Gold Cup in the quarterfinal round to get their ticket to the semifinals. Still, it must be said that Honduras was missing a lot of players as well as their coach. A COVID-19 outbreak had several players missing like Edwin Solano, Felix Crisanto, and Walter Martinez, as well as Coach Fabian Coito all tested positive for COVID-19 and missed out on the game. Also because of injuries, Alberth Elis, Romell Quioto, and Michaell Chirinos all were injured during the tournament. Quioto especially was a big hit to Honduras, as he had easily been their best player before he injured himself and had to leave their match against Qatar. Still, Mexico took advantage of the situation and more than did their job. That being said there were problems like once again wasting a lot of opportunities, something they will probably not have again as Canada will be a tougher side than this battered Honduras. There is also the worrying situation of what is happening with Edson Alvarez, and if he’s injured but so far Mexico did a great performance and it’s a big boost to a campaign who had deflated somewhat after their last group stage game.