Game: México vs. Puerto Rico
Date: Tuesday, April 12th
Time: 8:50 p.m. Eastern, 7:50 p.m. Central, 5:50 p.m. Pacific, 12:50 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Nemesio Díez (Toluca, Edomex.)
All-time record: México and Puerto Rico have met just once before, during the 2016 Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, where México won 6-0 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, United States. Maribel “Marigol” Domínguez had a hat trick, and Alina Garciamendez, Nayeli Rangel, and Katie Johnson contributed the other goals. Neither México nor Puerto Rico made it out of the group stage.
It all comes down to this.
México and Puerto Rico meet to determine who moves on to the Concacaf W Championship and a possible World Cup berth, while the other team goes home. Even though both teams enter with perfect 3-0-0 records, México will have the distinct advantage. México has the edge in goal differential, meaning a tie goes in their favor. They’re also playing in Toluca, which has an elevation of 8,727 feet, Puerto Rico’s national stadium is in Mayaguez, with a high point of just 1,577 feet.
Both teams have really run through the opposition in the group, with México getting greater goal differentials against all of the opponents. México beat Antigua and Barbuda 8-0 compared to Puerto Rico’s 4-0 scoreline. El Tri also beat Angilla 11-0 as opposed to Puerto Rico’s 9-0. And México dispatched Suriname 9-0 while Puerto Rico had a bit more difficulty, only managing a 2-0 win.
Puerto Rico should not be taken lightly however. Las Boricuas have a good mix of professional players and players in the American college system. Mirianée Zaragoza and Karina Socarrás both play for Maritimo in Portugal and Caitlin Cosme plays professionally for the Orlando Pride , while Cristina Roque (Florida State), Jazmine Méndez (UC Riverside), and Daphane Méndez (UC Riverside) all play in the NCAA system.
Puerto Rico are a team on the rise in Concacaf, and dethroning México as the assumed number three in the region would be quite the accomplishment. México however are the clear favorites however, and with that comes the added pressures of playing in front of home fans. They’ll need to be sharp early and dictate the play of the game from whistle-to-whistle, otherwise it could be the dawn of a new era in Concacaf, just not the one fans of El Tri Femenil were expecting.