Mexico booked their ticket to the final of the 2023 Central America and Caribbean Games with a win over Honduras in the semifinals yesterday by a 3-0 score. They took advantage of terrible defensive mistakes from Honduras, although the result was deserved and Mexico were the better side. They’ll now face Costa Rica in the Gold Medal match as they’ve already guaranteed at least a silver medal in the competition.
The match started with Mexico hoping to improve from their performance in their last match and clinch a trip to the final. Bryan Gonzalez got things started with a long-distance shot that hit the post. Then, again from outside the area, Rodrigo Lopez was given time and space to fire a strong right-footed shot that went through the hands of Honduras’ goalkeeper Juergen Garcia, and into the net for the opening goal that gave Mexico the 1-0 lead. While it was a strong shot, Garcia should have stopped it.
After Mexico lost the ball, Honduras had a possible 2 vs 2, but Exon Arzu fell in the area after a clash and nothing was called (which was the correct call). Just prior to halftime, Mexico took advantage of another mistake from Honduras. After a free kick, Junior Garcia sent it straight to Mexican attacker Ettson Ayon, who then fired past Juergen Garcia and into the net, giving his team the 2-0 lead. Mexico had struck at the right time as the half ended with the game all but out of reach for Honduras.
The second half continued to see Mexico dominating possession as Honduras looked lethargic and really hit by the momentum killer of the injury time goal just prior to halftime. Off a corner kick, the ball was cleared right into the path of Lopez, who got off a right-footed shot that Guerra stopped, but left the rebound so that Jesus Gomez’s tap in made it 3-0 in favor of El Tri. It appeared Mexico had killed the match with that goal as Honduras didn’t look capable of coming back from this.
The next relevant play was a long ball sent to Bodden, and Campillo tripped him up. The ref correctly judged him to be the last man, getting him red-carded, meaning he’ll miss the final. Honduras got a great opportunity to get back into the match with one less man on the field. Bodden fired a shot that hit the post, but other than that, were unable to create anything more. They even lost a ball in their own area that looked to be a goal after Carrillo lobbed the ball over Guerra, but would not get to the ball to redirect it into the empty net, ending in it going wide. It would be the last play as the match ended and Mexico got the win that got them to the final.
Mexico won their ticket to the final and although it wasn’t the best match, they were the better team throughout. They didn’t create as many chances as expected and took advantages of terrible mistakes from Honduras’ back line. Improvement will be needed, but El Tri should still be favored as winners on Thursday’s final as they face a Costa Rica side that have done well so far and will be dangerous if Mexico don’t come out at their best.