A depleted Mexican side is eying to set up the sixth and final clash with the United States in the CONCACAF Gold Cup when they take on Panama in the semifinals on Wednesday at Georgia Dome, Atlanta. The U.S. faces Jamaica in another semifinal tie.
Panama pulled off a famous upset in the semifinals two years back but couldn’t clinch their first title. Can Panama repeat their feat in front of a predominantly pro-Mexican crowd on Wednesday? Both teams are planning not to go all out in the 90-minute regulation time.
El Tri attack will be spearheaded by skipper Andres Guardado, as was evident in previous games of the tournament. The captain is the team’s heart, the key play-maker. Guardado only converted from the spot in the dying moments of the extra-time against Costa Rica to guide Mexico home in the quarterfinals on Sunday.
Mexico will be missing the services of Javier Hernandez and Hector Moreno due to injury. In addition they lost centre-back Yasser Corona, who was ruled out after sustaining a left knee injury against Costa Rica. LA Galaxy star Giovani dos Santos is also unlikely to start for the El Tri, as he is still struggling with a nagging wound.
Mexican coach Herrera was not happy with the travel conditions his team faced from New York to Atlanta citing the long wait and difficulties with luggage. Mexico hasn’t liven up to expectations in this tournament after their early exit from the group stage in Copa America last month in Chile.
Herrera wondered why his team faced those challenges when they were also the “ones who put most fans in the stadiums.”
“Mexico is the team that fills the stadiums and we are not being treated well,” Herrera said. ” We should be getting more consideration.”
Panama, on the other hand, has a golden opportunity to play their third Gold Cup final, which no other team from the region apart from the U.S. and Mexico has done so far. Brazil, as a guest team, featured in the finals twice. Panama fell twice in the finals against the U.S. in 2005 and 2013.
How to watch Mexico-Panama
Date: Wednesday, July 22
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Broadcast info: Fox Sports 2, Univision