Mexico began their 2019 Gold Cup tournament with a tremendous victory against the national team of Cuba. The atmosphere at the Rose Bowl was indescribable. From before the start of the match, people were cheering, singing, and dancing. The game started and the tossing of beer into the air began in the second minute of the match. Uriel Antuna scored his first goal of the game in the 2nd minute of the match (he would end up with a hat-trick). Antuna, whom currently plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS (on loan from Manchester City), was without a doubt, the player of the game.
The first goal came from a rebound off the right pole from a strike taken by Raul Jimenez and Uriel Antuna tapped it in for his first goal of the night. For the next 25 plus minutes, Mexico was having a hard time finding the back of the net. In the 30th minute, Raul Jimenez scored the 2nd goal for Mexico when the Cuban defense could not clear the ball. From that moment on, Mexico started to play their style of play, which is controlling the possession of the ball. Mexico was able to exploit the Cuban defense and eventually scored the 3rd goal in the 37th minute when the Diego Reyes took advantage of a poor cleared ball by the goalkeeper.
In the 44th minute, Antuna scored his second goal. The Mexican team possession of ball, and thus their ability to control the pace of the game is admirable. The fans are going wild in the stands and rightfully so. However, this was by far an exhibition of the Mexico’s team potential. When they are in sync, Mexico is lethal, and they are not to be taken lightly. This team is firing at all cylinders now, and they are just getting started. Halftime and the score stands at 4-0.
At the start of the second half, Mexico continues to control the pace of the game. Cuba has no response to the Mexican offensive attack. The atmosphere at the stadium feels more like a training session for the Mexican team. In the 64th minute, Raul Jimenez scores his second, and the 5th goal for Mexico! In the 71st minute, Raul Jimenez is replaced by Alexis Vega and 3 minutes later, Scores for Mexico, the game is now 6-0. The Cuban players are desperately looking at the game clock wishing for the game to be over soon. Cuba had a chance to score in the 75th minute, when Arichel Hernandez strikes the ball and the ball hit the crossbar.
In the 77th minute, Antuna scores to earn his hat-trick for Mexico and the score is 7-0. For the remaining of the game, Mexico continued to pressure the Cuban team and securing their shutout victory. Mexico has started the Gold Cup tournament with a bang! The question remains, will Mexico have the same attacking mindset when they face a very strong Canadian team on Wednesday June 19, 2019.
Photos: William Ortiz