SAN DIEGO – It has been almost two years since Mexico and Panama played in a Gold Cup semifinal and Panama won 2-1, as now the two teams will reencounter on Wednesday in a very important match that will take the winner to the final.
Mexico has struggled to play up to their full potential in the past few matches. Recently they made an appearance in the Copa America, but suffered an early exit after losing in the group stage. They took a “B” squad in this tournament, stating that their main focus was in the Gold Cup and that this year they were guaranteed to be in the final.
Mexican coach Miguel Herrera said that winning this tittle was an “obligation” and they wouldn’t take anything other than that. Mexico barely made it until here, struggling in the group stage as they finished second and also having a tough time in the knockout stage games winning the last game against Costa Rica with an extremely dubious PK awarded in the 120th minute.
Even though Mexico does have more quality players compared to Panama, it is hard to say whether they can deliver at this point and avenge the 2013 loss. Panama has a functional team, with experienced forwards Blas Perez and Luis Tejada that can beat the Mexican shaky defense as they have done before against the United States. Also, because both teams played on Sunday, there could be some fatigue and tiredness that could impact the game. However, the fact that Mexico does have better quality subs like Jesus Corona, could be a defining point in this match.