The Gold Cup will kick off this Saturday, and the favorite to win the competition will play in the second match of the day. Mexico have won more Gold Cups than any other team, and they are now the favorites to reclaim the title this year due to the struggles of the USMNT. They are expected to hammer Cuba in their opener, so any sort of result for the Lions of the Caribbean will result in raucous celebrations among Cuban fans.
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Mexico vs. Cuba
Date and Time: June 15, 2019, 10 p.m. ET
Location: Rose Bowl, Los Angeles, California
US Television Coverage: FS2
Betting Line: Mexico -3.5, O/U 4
Four years ago, these two teams met in the group stage of the 2015 Gold Cup. Mexico completely controlled the match from start to finish, earning a 6-0 win over Cuba. Oribe Peralta netted a hat trick, while Carlos Vela, Andres Guardado, and Giovani dos Santos all added goals for El Tri. When it was all said and done, Mexico held 77 percent of possession, outshot Cuba 44 to 3, and put 18 shots on goal compared to just 1 for Cuba.
If recent results are any indication, we might see a repeat of that result on Saturday. The Mexican federation seems to have made an excellent decision by bringing in Tata Martino as the new manager following another World Cup disappointment. Tata has brought in his daring, attacking style that was so popular at Atlanta United and led the Five Stripes to the MLS Cup. That has made Mexico much more dangerous than they have been recently.
Mexico have scored at least three goals in all four of their matches this year, and they have won all four of those games. Their opponents weren’t pushovers (they were all South American teams), so that has El Tri riding high ahead of this competition. We have seen 12 different players score for Mexico thus far this year, showing the depth of their squad and the style that Tata prefers.
The Lions of the Caribbean are one of the lowest-ranked teams at the Gold Cup according to FIFA rankings. Cuba are ranked 174th, but they have won five of their last six matches. Of course, those wins came against other Caribbean teams, with the best victory coming against the Dominican Republic.
Mexico Player to Watch
If you only look at the box score, you don’t see the impact that Raul Jimenez has on games for Mexico. He has failed to notch a point in either of El Tri’s final two tune-up games ahead of the Gold cup, but his presence is noticeable if you watch the games. Jimenez is a forward that isn’t afraid to do the dirty work needed to open things up. He is coming off a great season with Wolverhampton, and he should find his way into the scorer’s sheet here.
Cuba Player to Watch
There isn’t much experience on Cuba with the most capped player on the roster having just 29 appearances to his name. However, it does appear that the team may have a future linchpin in 22-year-old Luis Paradela. He has scored five times in six appearances with Cuba, and that makes him the second-leading scorer on this roster. Paradela has performed well in club football too, notching six goals in 12 matches with Universidad in Guatemala.
Mexico vs. Cuba Free Picks
This won’t be much of a match. Mexico are superior at every position across the pitch, and they will impose their will on Cuba. Tata’s teams have not had any problems scoring goals, so I believe El Tri will cover the spread and push the game over by themselves.
Mexico vs. Cuba Prediction: Mexico 5, Cuba 0
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