(WARNING: Highlights and links from this game may contain graphic images relating to the Lozano injury. We are not including a close up replay, but it does exist. Trust us, it was bad.)
Mexico was held scoreless by Trinidad and Tobago in the 2021 Gold Cup opener at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX in a game that will be remembered for things other than soccer.
Mexico striker Hirving “Chucky” Lozano was carted off after a horror clash with Trinidad keeper Marvin Phillip ten minutes into the match. A stoppage for racial chanting in the final 10 minutes by Mexico also occurred, causing a brief stoppage before the conclusion of the game.
In the opening minutes, Mexico nearly lead thanks to Rogelio Funes Mori’s header in the 8th minute. The former Argentine international, who scored in his Mexico debut in a 4-0 friendly win over Nigeria prior to the Gold Cup, was parried away by Phillip.
Two minutes later however, Lozano went down in the box only to collide head first with Phillip and needed to be carted off. No foul for a push in the back was whistled despite the protests from Mexico seeing Edson Alvarez booked for dissent. LA Galaxy starlet Efrain Alvarez replaced Lozano after the injury.
Throughout the evening, Mexico held the bulk of play and Funes Mori looked threatening on more than on occasion, either to have his chance go wide or Phillip to come up with a big save.
More credit needs to be given to Trinidad however, because they were solid defensively tonight in a performance that is likely the best on the year for a squad that struggled mightily in World Cup qualifying and was eliminated in the first round. On Mexico’s 30 shots on the night, they blocked 10 and Phillip saved 7 for his shutout.
In stoppage time, Mexico seemingly found a winner from Funes Mori, as a centering pass found him at the top of the six for a sliding finish but the goal was marked off for offside on the entry pass. This was super, super close you guys:
Mexico fans posting this video and asking “how could that be offside?” And maybe I’m biased but like it looks pretty clearly offside to me and I don’t even need the fancy lines pic.twitter.com/VePh7CNHDz— Joe Roche (@JRoche3MR) July 11, 2021
I can’t see who it is, but it’s the T&T right centerback that appears to be the last defender in that still. If there is offside, it’s by a leaning shoulder, but there wasn’t enough for VAR to intervene and overturn the call. Despite a late flurry of corners by Mexico, T&T held on for a point and a shutout in a 0-0 result.
While it was a disappointing night for a variety of reasons for Mexico, I’m with Aly Wagner, they did play well. They held a dominant edge in possession with over 70%, put 7 shots on target forcing Phillip into some pretty solid saves throughout the night, and for the most part held T&T without and significant chances until the end of the match.
T&T now has a big edge in Group A by claiming a point off the favorites Mexico. A win in one of their next two games could be enough to claim a spot in the quarterfinals. El Salvador and Guatemala play their first Group A match tonight to accommodate Guatemala’s late substitution into the tournament.
Group A play resumes on Wednesday July 14th with T&T and El Salvador from Toyota Park in Frisco and Guatemala and Mexico from the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.