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Mexico start their 2023 Gold Cup by crushing Honduras

Jaime Lozano’s tenure as National Team coach began with a 4-0 win over Honduras to climb to first place in Group B of the 2023 Gold Cup.

Mexico v Honduras: Group B - 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

The Jaime Lozano era started with a bang after Mexico crushed Honduras 4-0 score last night. Mexico went on the offensive from the start and surprised a weak Honduras side. Coach Lozano started his tenure in grand fashion, but will need to quickly turn his attention to Haiti, who won their first match against Qatar yesterday just prior to the Mexico-Honduras matchup for the sole top spot in Group B.

The match began with the surprise of Edson Alvarez starting at CB to cover the spot of the suspended Cesar Montes. Mexico jumped on top from the start and 50 seconds into the game, a bad Honduras clearance fell to Luis Romo, who fired from outside the area to beat Honduras’ goalkeeper, Luis Lopez, for the goal that gave Mexico the 1-0 lead. It was the fastest goal scored by Mexico in Gold Cup history. They continued to be dangerous with good passes between Jorge Sanchez and Uriel Antuna on the right side. Honduras appeared to settle down after a rough first few minutes and tried to respond, but outside of great individual plays from Alberth Elis, they had few offensive opportunities. A great cross by Jorge Sanchez was volleyed by Henry Martin, who ended up giving a great pass to Erick Sanchez, but he whiffed the shot in what would have been an empty net goal as Lopez was too close to Martin to do anything had Sanchez connected with it.

Sanchez himself would later steal a ball, but take too long to make a pass to Pineda, and when he did get the ball, his shot was deflected to a corner kick. In the ensuing corner, the cross found Jesus Gallardo, who got a header right into the path of Luis Romo, who would head the ball from close range past Lopez for the goal that gave Mexico the 2-0 lead. It was a great set piece score that started to show Mexico might be recovering danger on the attack under Lozano’s tenure. The first half ended with Mexico the clearly superior team.

The second half started surprisingly with no changes from Honduras and both teams came out with the same 11 starters. Honduras went on the offensive from the start as they needed a quick goal to get back into the match. A dangerous play looked to occur for Honduras when Elis started a play that ended with a cross into the area narrowly being missed by Jorge Benguche, who was dropped in the area, but the play was called back for offside. A great run by Orbelin Pineda, who got past two defenders, would get just outside the area and fire a shot past Lopez for the goal that gave Mexico a 3-0 lead. It was a great goal by Pineda, who was probably Mexico’s best player to that point.

Later, a great pass by Romo was deflected by Honduras’ defense right to Luis Chavez, who got a foot on it in the area past Lopez for the goal that placed the score at 4-0. Mexico went off on severely wobbly Honduras. After a great pass, Gimenez nearly scored had it not been for a good Lopez save. A pass in the area was deflected by Alvarez and into the hands of Mexico’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, making his first save. Mexico started to get good combination plays and one of them ended with a back-heel pass from Rodriguez that had Gimenez scoring from close range, but his goal was disallowed after being slightly offside. There was a possible injury for Johan Vasquez after a fall, but he got medical attention and stayed in the match. After a couple of moves, Chavez got into the area and got a pass to Rodriguez, but his shot was cleared by Honduras’ defense. And that was the last of it.

After an incredible hectic week, even by Mexican standards, Mexico got their best performance of 2023. They came out firing from the start, and although they defeated a weak opponent in Honduras, it was a spirited performance, especially after the disaster that was the CONCACAF Nations League that ended Diego Cocca’s tenure at the helm of the Mexican National Team. Interim coach Lozano will hope that Mexico continue to improve against a Hatian team that defeated last year’s World Cup hosts Qatar and who will not be surprised by Mexico’s level of play, as Honduras were. Still, with a great crowd in the stadium and a good performance, Mexican fans might be slightly that there could be a turn around in the works that might just pull the team out of crisis mode.