Mexico started their 2023 U17 CONCACAF Championship campaign in grand fashion by crushing Curaçao by a 9-0 score. Mexico got an early goal and completely dominated in what is expected to be their easiest group stage match. Unfortunately though, Mexico picked some injuries just prior to what is expected to be their toughest match on Monday when they face hosts Guatemala, while Curaçao will have to bounce back by facing Panama.
The first half started with both teams trying for the best start to their tournament. A minute and a half into the match, a great cross into the area was wonderfully volleyed by Gael Alverez, who went into the air in half bicycle kick to connect the ball past Curaçao’s goalkeeper, Irdjoadailly Emelina for the 1-0 lead. It couldn’t have been a better start for Mexico in the tournament. There was a possible penalty when Kevin Garcia got punched by Emelina on a free kick, but no call was given. Minutes later, Brandon Lomeli got into the area but was brought down and now a penalty was given. Isaac Martinez took the penalty, and with a low right footed shot that went past Emelina, he scored the 2-0. Mexico kept pressuring as they looked to be in complete control of the game. Lomeli then got the ball in the area but his shot went well wide. Then after a great pass into the area, Fidel Barajas got the ball and got off a rocket of a shot that went past Emelina for the 3-0 lead. Off of a corner kick, Luis Navarrete came close to scoring but his header went just wide. A great left footed shot from Stephano Carrillo from outside the area then hit the post. Later Carrillo got into the area and got off a low shot past Emelina for the goal that placed the score as 4-0. Curaçao started to get more possession as Mexico let up, but they still had more control of the ball and dictated the match. Just prior to the end of halftime, a pass into the area fell to Carrillo, after a Curaçao defender left it for him to get a left footed shot past Emelina for the 5-0 lead. Mexico went into halftime with a commanding lead and the total control of the game.
The second half started with Mexico subbing out Gael Alvarez and Stephano Carrillo for Alex Valencia and Joaquin Moxica. while Curaçao subbed out Noah Calister for Shermayn Rombley. Javen Romero got off a left footed shot went well wide. Lomeli was then brought down and the ball fell to Moxica, but his shot was blocked by Emelina. Lomeli got injured and was subbed out for Jose Arroyo. Curaçao subbed out Carlos Sientje, Luigi Jozua, and Giandro Sambo for Patrick Jordan, Tarino Oz, and Gediel David. Mexico had another chance but Curaçao twice cleared the ball out of the area. Mexico subbed out Isaac Martinez for Cristian Inda. In his first play, Inda would get a harsh foul that would end with Curaçao’s Dayshawn Fermin getting a yellow card. Mexico subbed out Javen Romero for Jonathan Flores. After a good play and a mistake by Curaçao’s goalkeeper, Barajas made a pass by him and into the path of Alex Valencia, who got a tap in goal into the empty net for the 6-0 lead. Curaçao’s goalkeeper Emelina then started cramping up after the goal and would have to be subbed out for Quishureari Girardi. A cross into the area was volleyed by Moxica, but it went just wide. After a chance in the area, Fidel Barajas fell in the area and looked to be injured and left Mexico with just 10 players. A cross into the area from Inda was then deflected into the path of Moxica, who got off a right footed shot past Girardi for the 7-0 lead. After a good pass into the area, Moxica got past Girardi who would bring him down and getting a penalty called. Jose Urias stepped up to take the penalty, and with a strong left footed shot scored the 8-0 past Girardi. In injury time, a cross into the area fell to Jose Arroyo, who got off a weak right footed shot but it still went through Girardi’s hands to make it 9-0. It would be the last goal, as the late push from Mexico made it a more representative score of the actions on the field.
As expected, Mexico opened their tournament with an easy win. 20 minutes into the match, the game had already been settled with a 3-0 score and Mexico got their first three points of the tournament. Still the injuries picked up by Lomeli and Barajas could be a big problem, especially since Mexico only has only one day before their next match. It’s a big one too, facing hosts Guatemala which should be the toughest match of the group. Still Mexico played well and they are coming from an U15 tournament where they already played and defeated Guatemala by a 7-2 score. And yet as hosts, it will be a lot tougher side on Monday and key to their goal of winning the group and helping their path to the Round of 16.