Mexico came to the Gold Cup with a younger, less experienced team on the international level. With their opening game loss to Panama in Group A, combined with their struggles in The Hex, opened up much debate about the job security of manager Jose Manuel de la Torre.
Winning their final two games might only stop that debate in the short term, as Mexico's 2-1 victory over Martinique moved them into the knockout stages of the 2013 Gold Cup.
Marco Fabian and Luis Montes scored first half goals to lead Mexico over a Martinique squad that has certainly impressed during their Gold Cup run. Fabian bounced a rebound up and over Martinique keeper Kevin Olimpa after he initially saved Rafael Lugo's shot in the 21st minute. The chance came on a 2-on-1 for Mexico and Fabian struck his shot low into the ground and got a perfect bounce as Martinique could do little to stop the effort. Montes launched a long range effort that found the back corner to double the lead in the 34th.
Martinique would pull one back just before halftime, as Mexico's Miguel Layun went through the back of Steve Gustan in the 42nd. Kevin Parsemain stepped up and converted the penalty to give Martinique hope going into halftime.
But they were unable to equalize in the second half, and Mexico put the game away in the 90th minute when Miguel Ponce latched on to a Layun cross on the back post and sealed the game at 3-1 and clinch a second place finish for El Tri in Group A. Martinique must now wait and see if they will be one of the two third place qualifiers, they have three points and a minus-2 goal differential.
Panama and Canada played out to a scoreless draw in a rather listless game that spoke more about Canada's dismal run in the Gold Cup. Only needing a draw to secure the top spot in the group, Panama was willing to cede some possession to Canada and take a lot of long shots. Canada was unable to muster any offense for the third straight game and were eliminated after being shut out in all three games.
Panama and Mexico will both head to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for their quarter final games. Panama will play a third place qualifier from either Group B or C while Mexico will play the second place team from Group B. Martinique will wait to see if they qualify from their third place spot, if they do, they will play the winner of Group C, either the USA or Costa Rica, in Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.