By Dan Price
Mexico’s poor form continued last night after a disappointing 0-0 draw with Guatemala in Group C
of the Gold Cup.
The game was played in front of more than 62,000 fans in Glendale, Arizona, but the highly partisan crowd left in a gloomy mood after booing the players off at fulltime.
El Tri dominated the ninety minutes, racking up seventeen shots to Guatemala’s two and ending with more than 75 percent of the possession. Nonetheless, they couldn’t find a way through a resolute Guatemalan defense – despite playing with a man advantage for the final quarter of an hour after midfielder Jose Contreras picked up two yellow cards in two minutes.
The match would have seen a different outcome if Honduran referee Armando Castro had awarded a clear penalty in the fifteenth minute after a handball in the box. Replays showed Oribe Peralta was denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity by the defense, but the referee waved play on.
The result brings Herrera’s men back down to earth with a bump after the euphoria of their 6-0 win over Cuba last Thursday. In the aftermath of that game Herrera admitted that tougher challenges lay ahead, but he presumably didn’t include Guatemala on that list in his own mind.
In yesterday’s post-match press conference Herrera claimed his side lacked decisiveness but that he wasn’t concerned by their lack of goals.
“We're frustrated by the result, because we didn't win and because the fans supported us so much”, he said.
“We had enough shots on goal but we weren't able to score. We haven't been decisive. We continue to be a team who know what we have to do, although we must be more decisive”.
“We have players who can score like Oribe, Vela, Gio, Herrera, and Chuletita. They will find a way to score and that will help us manage the match and win”, he added.
The result means Mexico now sit second in Group C with four points, two behind leaders Trinidad and Tobago and three ahead of Guatemala.
The top two will play each other to determine who will win the group in North Carolina on Wednesday evening. The fans are demanding changes, and with Herrera admitting he was too slow to introduce the in-form Giovani dos Santos last night, it is widely anticipated that he will start in Charlotte in place of the misfiring Oribe Peralta.
A win would ease the pressure on Herrera, though a draw will be enough for Mexico to progress to the quarter finals.
Tonight’s action see Honduras play Haiti at 7pm EDT and Panama face the USA at 9:30pm EDT.