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Mexico defeats Dominican Republic in Central American and Caribbean Games opener

Mexico started with a 2-0 win over the Dominican Republic in a match where they should have scored more.

via @FMF

Mexico opened their 2023 Central America and Caribbean Games participation with a 2-0 win against the Dominican Republic. Mexico completely dominated the match but after a great first half, they had terrible aim in the second and should have scored a lot more goals to reflect their dominance. The win has Mexico basically in the semifinal round because of the fact that they are in a three team group, but the lack of goals might hurt them if hosts El Salvador bring the marksmanship against the Dominican Republic and climb to first place because of goal differential.

The first half started with Mexico hoping to get a victory to qualify to the next round. The surprise was the first chance of the match fell to Isaac Baez of the Dominican Republic, with a header that went wide. Minutes later though, Mexico took control of the match and started creating danger. A cross into the area went just out of reach of Ettson Ayon, who would have had a close range chance had he reached it. Off of a corner kick, the ball was deflected into the path of Rafael Guerrero, who got of a cross into the area. A wide open Jesus Gomez found the ball and easily connected with a left footed shot past Dominican Republic goalkeeper Omry Bello for the goal that gave Mexico the 1-0 lead. Off of a corner kick, a cross into the area was headed by Guerrero into the net but the goal was ruled to be offside. Replays show that it was a bad call and Mexico should have had a 2-0 lead. Zaid Muñoz got the ball in the area, but Bello rushed to get the ball off his feet. After getting the ball in the area, Bryan Gonzalez tried to lob the ball into the net but Bello came up with a good save. A cross by Rodrigo Huescas was well headed by Ayon but Bello made another good save. A great pass into the area found Gonzalez, whose right footed shot was brilliantly saved by Bello. Off of a corner kick, Gonzalez´s cross found a wide open Fidel Ambriz, who got off a great header past Bello to give Mexico the 2-0 lead. There was a small scuffle between Baez and Muñoz, but nothing came out of it. The first half ended and Mexico had completely dominated the match from the start and took a deserved lead.

The second half started with Mexico hoping to score more goals against a Dominican Republic team that had been inferior in every zone of the field in the first half. A cross into the area by Oscar Villa found Ayon and his shot went past Bello, but the ball was cleared off the line by a defender. The Dominican Republic then had a chance like that but it was Huescas who cleared the ball from the area. A cross into the area found Gonzalez, who headed it wide from close range. Villa then got off a right footed shot that forced another save from Bello. Bello injured himself on that save and would need medical attention. Mexico subbed out Isaias Violante for Gael Garcia. The Dominican Republic meanwhile subbed out Guillermo de Peña for Junior Peralta. A cross into the area found Muñoz, who got a wide open header but sent it wide in a bad miss. Mexico subbed out Zahid Muñoz and Rodrigo Lopez for Eduardo Armenta and Donzell Garcia. After getting past a defender, Huescas had a great chance but sent his shot sky high. Worse yet, had he waited, a Mexican attacker went to the area where a pass would have him had a tap in goal. Mexico subbed out Bryan Gonzalez and Ettson Ayon for Ali Avila and Ricardo Monreal. Mexico then had back to back misses as their second half continued to have terrible shooting. In the end, it would cost them because although Mexico got the win, their two goal differential might hurt the team for a potential first place of the group.

Mexico was overly superior for 90 minutes, but a lackluster effort in the second half in terms of shooting had them missing chance after chance. Hosts El Salvador will play against the Dominican Republic and should be favored to score a large quantity of goals, and thus climb into first place, and a tie against Mexico on Sunday would win them the group. Mexico should be in the semifinal group after the Wednesday night win because of it being a three team group, but they will have to improve in the final end for their Sunday’s clash against El Salvador and for any possible rival they will face in the semifinals.