For the first time this year, El Tri looked mortal on Friday. Costa Rica gave Mexico all they could handle, but Mexico survived and moved on to avoid what would have been a stunning defeat. They are now just one win away from a trip to the Gold Cup Finals where they are looking to add to their record number of wins. Only Haiti stands in the way, and Mexico are sizable favorites against Les Grenadiers on Tuesday night.
Mexico vs. Haiti
Date and Time: July 2, 2019, 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
US Television Coverage: FS1
Betting Line: Mexico -1.5 and -2, O/U 2.5
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Haiti have done an incredible job in making it to the semifinals of the Gold Cup for the first time in 42 years. This country is not a perennial soccer power, but they have some talent and have knocked off some good teams on its way to this points.
The Haitians started off the Group Stage by overcoming a halftime deficit to defeat Bermuda 2-1 thanks to a brace from Frantzdy Pierrot. They didn’t have much trouble securing a 2-0 win over Nicaragua in their next match, and they followed that up by upsetting Costa Rica 2-1 to win the group. In that match, they again came back from a halftime deficit with Duckens Nazon and Djimy Alexis notching goals.
They were underdogs to Canada in the quarterfinal, and it looked like Haiti would be unceremoniously dismissed from the competition after Canada took a 2-0 lead into halftime. However, Haiti proved they were a second half team once more and stormed back after goals from Nazon, Herve Bazile, and Wilde-Donald Guerrier to open up a 3-2 lead. Les Grenadiers held on from there.
The Group Stage was no problem for Mexico. Mexico hammered Cuba 7-0 in its first match and followed that up with a convincing 3-1 win over Canada in the second game. That gave them the group, and they sealed up the top spot with a 3-2 win over Martinique.
Costa Rica challenged Mexico in ways that other teams haven’t figured out yet on Friday. The game was even for much of the match, as the Ticos shut down the vaunted Mexican attack, keeping it from tallying three goals or more for the first time in 2019. Penalties commenced after a 1-1 draw at the end of regulation, and Mexico emerged victorious 5-4 after a sixth round of penalties to advance.
Mexico Player to Watch
Raul Jimenez was the hero and the goat on Friday. Wolves’ star striker knocked in a goal just before halftime to put El Tri up 1-0 on Costa Rica, but he was the only Mexican player to miss his penalty during the shootout. He will have to shake off the miss as Tata Martino will certainly highlight him again. Jimenez is the perfect grinder you need to keep an offense scoring without pretty passing, and he should have a goal here.
Haiti Player to Watch
Duckens Nazon is the player most closely associated with Haitian soccer. Nazon has helped Haiti send seismic waves throughout the establishment, and he has 18 goals in 36 matches with Haiti. He has not had the same impact in his club career that he has had with his country, and Nazon must have an incredible match for Haiti to pull off the shocker.
Mexico vs. Haiti Free Picks
I believe this will be a high-scoring affair. Haiti have scored in every match at the World Cup, and the offense is fast and has enough endurance to give you real fits in the back. Mexico have allowed a goal in nearly every match this year, so I’ll take my chances on the over.
Mexico vs. Haiti Prediction: Mexico 3, Haiti 1
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