Gold Cup Group Schedule Reveals Mexico Opponents for Alamodome

Gold Cup Trophy

Photo: CONCACAF

The CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage schedule has been completed and as a result the three match days in Texas have been finalized following the schedule announcement on Tuesday. Houston and Frisco will host Honduras, Costa Rica, French Guiana, and Canada; while San Antonio will host Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao and Jamaica.

The Alamodome will host the final match day of the group stages and many fans have been excited that Mexico will be playing in the tournament in the Alamodome. But that will now be the weakest match for Mexico as they take on Curacao, with goals sure to be flying in, at time of publication Mexico was ranked 17th in the world with Curacao ranked 148th. Despite that fans in San Antonio should be pleased as the earlier match of the day, Jamaica v El Salvador is potentially one of the best matches in the group stages.

The first matches in Texas will be Tuesday July 11th at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and will feature Group A. Again the better match is the first match of the double header as Costa Rica will take on Canada, who play in Houston for the second straight Gold Cup, while Honduras will play French Guiana in the second match of the day.

Frisco will host matches on the Friday of that week (July 14th) and will feature Costa Rica v French Guiana and Canada v Honduras. That is the first match day in Texas where the second match is really the bigger match of the day although Honduras will still go in as heavy favorites.

One more match will take place in Texas, and the schedule of the group stages provided some clarity in to what teams could be involved in that. AT&T Stadium in Arlington will host the first semi-final on July 22nd, with the winners of the first two quarter-finals, which means that Texas could potentially see the United States as they sit in Group B, with first and second in that group playing in the first two quarterfinals.

 

RGV FC to Face Monterrey in Long Awaited HEB Park Opening

Photo: RGV FC Toros

Rio Grande Valley FC’s stadium opening will finally take place on March 22nd, a year later than originally planned. That delay allows for a great match to open their soccer specific stadium as Rio Grande Valley FC (RGV FC) Toros will play CF Monterrey on March 22nd in the first match at HEB Park, the club announced on Monday.

The match between the two teams is a perfect opener for the new stadium with Monterrey being just 150 miles away from Edinburg, where HEB Park is located. CF Monterrey is the closest professional team to RGV FC Toros, with San Antonio FC being 229 miles away.

It will be multiple firsts for RGV FC as it will be the first international friendly the club has ever played, and the first match at their own stadium. It will be one of the first matches for new head coach Othoniel “Junior” Gonzalez who replaced Wilmer Cabrera who moved to Major League Soccer side Houston Dynamo in the off season.

This friendly will be the last pre-season match before RGV FC as they open the season in their new stadium against San Antonio FC. The match will also be the first played with full facilities opened, allowing for a dry run for what is sure to be another hotly contested South Texas derby.

HEB Park is a 9,700 capacity stadium, the building of which has been beset with problems, as weather, and overly ambitious scheduling delayed the opening of the stadium by almost a year. Tickets for this match go on sale beginning Friday February 17th and can be purchased through the RGV FC website.

Stunning Goal not Enough as Costa Rica Through to Semis

A stunning goal from Maribel Dominguez was not enough as Mexico have seen their hopes of Rio come to an end. Costa Rica managed a 2-1 win over Mexico to eliminate Las Tri and send themselves through to the semi-final instead.

Mexico needed only a draw to advance to the semi-finals after their impressive performance against the United States saw them lead on goal difference. ButCosta Rica went for the match from the opening whistle, and took charge of the match thanks to an early goal.

It took just nine minutes for Costa Rica to manage the opening goal after Maria Barrantes miskick was recovered by Rodriguez Cedeno. Cedeno was able to control the ball, and then fire a shot, while falling back and beat the keeper to open the scoring.

That saw Costa Rica look to remain in control of the match, and they controlled much of the possession in the first half. That saw Mexico forced to go to the bench, as they looked to try and get control back from Costa Rica.

That seemed to work, to some extent, but they could not really get a major attack in on the Costa Rica goal as the half ended 1-0. Las Ticas came out from the break determined to double their lead going on the attack in the early going.

In the 57th minute Costa Rica doubled their lead as Karla Nieto fouled Cedeno, the second contentious penalty Mexico received in as many matches. Cedeno then dusted herself off, and took the shot, easily converting from the spot.

After looking off the pace for much of the match, Mexico started to look in to it in the final 20 minutes of the match. And in the 79th minute an absolute stunner pulled Mexico back in to the tie when Kati Johnson headed a ball in to the box, before Maribel Dominguez send a stunning bicycle across the face of goal, past Dinnia Diaz and in to the back of the net.

That goal pushed Mexico on to seek a goal and within the final ten minutes of the match had an even better chance. Again it was Dominguez who had the chance, as she was able to get clean through of the Costa Rica defense and shoot across the face but just wide, letting Costa Rica off the hook and sending Las Ticas through to the semi-finals.

USA Through to Semi-Finals After Mexico win

It may not have been comfortable, and it may have required a questionable penalty decision but the United States have advanced to the semi-finals of CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying. The USA beat Mexico 1-0 at Toyota Stadium on Saturday afternoon to seal top spot in Group A.

USA players celebrate their goal

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

It was a tight match throughout, with Mexico determined to get a point, or even an unlikely win which would see themselves through to the semi-finals. As it is, the one goal loss puts them in the box seat to advance, although a difficult match-up to Costa Rica awaits on Monday, with the winner through to the semi-finals.

Showing how unusual the tight match was, it was the first time the USA ever won a CONCACAF Olympic Qualifier by a score of just 1-0. The star of the night was undoubtedly Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago who made huge saves all afternoon, including saving a penalty.

The first big chance for the United States came in the 16th minute when a cross allowed Julie Johnson a golden opportunity. Johnson got a header away but it was a stunning save from Santiago to keep the World Champions out.

With Mexico playing in a 5-4-1 life was always going to be difficult for the United States going forward, as the Mexican defense stifled the Americans. That led to few chances, with the USA players struggling to get that final opportunity.

There was one more big chance in the first half as Crystal Dunn was able to get a powerful shot away from the right side of the box. Dunn’s shot went across the face of goal and across Santiago, who dived across well to make a stunning save.

Just seven minutes in to the second half, the United States had a golden opportunity to open the scoring. Christen Press had the chance as she got away an impressive shot that finally beat Santiago but could only find the post.

Again Mexico tightened up defensively and it took until after the hour mark for the World Champions to have their next chance. Two chances came back to back from Alex Morgan, who first sent a shot over the bar and then a header with the same result.

The post was also proving a worthy adversary of the Americans as Lindsay Horan was also denied, in the 76th minute. Horan found the space and got the shot away, beating Santiago, but could only find the woodwork, letting Mexico off.

Four minutes after that chance, the United States finally hit their lead thanks to a fortunate refereeing decision. Karla Nieto was called for what may have been a harsh handball call. That allowed Carli Lloyd to step up but her penalty was well saved by Santiago, only to fall back to Lloyd, who buried it for the opener.

Three minutes from time Mexico could well have got back on level terms, with an impressive strike from Monica Ocampo. Ocampo unleashed a powerful shot, which looked bound for the top right hand corner only for Hope Solo to tap the ball on to the post and out, to give USA the 1-0 win.