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Following a penalty shootout earlier this week that finished 8-7 in Trinidad & Tobago’s favor in Gold Cup qualifying, the Concacaf minnows booked one of the final spots in the competition.
Their prize? An immediate match on Saturday against the tournament favorites: Mexico.
Mexico are head and shoulders above not only Trinidad & Tobago but also every other team in Group A.
Barring some sort of unexpected and unanticipated series of mistakes, Mexico will be expected to breeze past the group stage before facing stiffer competition in the knockout round.
While Trinidad & Tobago should be given credit for finding a way into the Gold Cup, there’s no denying that they will likely be on the receiving end of an incredibly attack-minded team. This should be a fairly straightforward encounter for the current Gold Cup title-holders. Pick Mexico for the win this Saturday..
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|Mexico vs Trinidad & Tobago Information|
|Teams||Mexico vs Trinidad & Tobago|
|Location||AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)|
|Time||Saturday, July 10th at 10:00 pm ET|
|How to Watch||Univision, FS1, TUDN|
After being unable to automatically earn a spot in the 2021 Gold Cup due to finishing last in their 2019-20 Nations League group, Trinidad & Tobago had to then fight in qualification earlier this week.
In spite of their sizable advantage over a team like French Guiana that had only earned a spot in the Gold Cup once, Trinidad & Tobago eventually went to penalties for a place in the tournament.
1-1 in regulation time led to a penalty shootout, which eventually led to a sudden death round in which Trinidad & Tobago barely scraped by.
Once again, there should be praise given to Trinidad & Tobago, but we shouldn’t forget how close they were to miss out on the Gold Cup.
And most notably, we shouldn’t forget how they’ve regressed from the giant killers that they once were from a decade or two ago.
This preview would be an entirely conversation if this was 10 to 20 years ago.
Back in the early days of the 21st century, Trinidad & Tobago were an exciting up-and-coming nation that could deal a serious amount of damage against bigger national teams.
They finished 3rd in the 2000 Gold Cup, won the 2001 Caribbean Cup (their last title in the competition), and qualified for the World Cup for the first time ever in 2006.
For whatever reason, things have regressed since those days, and Trinidad & Tobago are no longer the obstacle they once were for Concacaf opposition.
It’s no secret that Mexico are much better in nearly every department of their roster.
Whether it be in the attack, midfield, defense or goalkeeper position, the current Gold Cup champions have no lack of options within their squad.
Which is significant in tournament soccer.
If there are any unexpected injuries, Covid-19-related issues or simply a lack of preparation, Mexico are better suited to have backups that could step in during the match during any complications.
As for Trinidad & Tobago, it’s unfortunate to report that a handful of their players are currently “Unattached” to clubs, according to reports.
Even if most of Mexico’s starters struggle, or if they allow a mistake or two, there’s always a good chance that Hirving “Chucky” Lozano will help turn the tide for them.
Blessed with speed, great finishing, and a knack for picking up loose possessions, Chucky is the perfect player to employ against a Trinidad & Tobago that could be mistiming the occasional pass.
Assuming that the Caribbean underdogs take a step back and try to keep things level, Lozano will be the difference-maker with his tenacity and runs that will surely help create a goal or two.
And in all honesty, perhaps even three depending on how the evening goes.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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