You beat someone 5-1 and you pretty much expect to qualify for anything, right?
Mexico did that – destroying Haiti 5-1, with the opportunity to hit for even more. But they didn’t – and it cost them. Hugo Sanchez and his boys new full-well they needed to win by 5 in order to get through. Canada – the same one that was beaten by Haiti a couple days ago – came out in Tampa and put on a scoring clinic for the impotent Guatemalan offense. Will Johnson and Tosaint Ricketts were the show – 4 goals between the two of them and Josh Wagenaar made some decent saves to secure a shutout in which Guatemala had almost double the scoring chances, but not a goal to show for it.
Mexico, however, had more than enough quality to get it done and you could even argue it gave them more of a sense of urgency. You could tell from the get-go, a rout was on hand. Minor detail: they couldn’t find the back of the net on a steady basis. They could build, collect, keep patient, and pick an opportune time to shoot – but nothing was going in. At least for a solid 60 minutes. Cesar Villaluz did break through Johnny Placide’s man-made wall in the 18th minute and the chances didn’t cease. If anything, the chances on goal increased exponentially – especially with the ejection of Haiti’s Judelini Avesta in the 28th minute. The goals eventually came, four more to be exact, but they needed another to overcome Canada’s 5-0 shocker. Another ejection with 5 minutes to go aided Mexico’s cause, but once again, too little too late. It was Canada’s day, after bouncing back from a 2-1 loss to a Haitian team that Mexican swept under the table, and Mexico was sent home. An Olympics without Giovanni Dos Santos, Omar Esparza, Guillermo Ochoa, Carlos Vela, and Andres Guardado will definitely be a weird one. But, more importantly, what will happen to Hugo Sanchez? He’ll stick around – but is seat definitely got a lot hotter.
Canada’s win will pit them against Altidore and Adu in the semifinals in a do-or-die match-up on March 20th in Nashville. Should be a good one.