Their ability to pass from this group will probably hinge on their match with Canada. They are a team that can keep it close against the second-tier CONCACAF teams like Jamaica and Costa Rica, which could help them find a result against the bigger boys and gain entry to the knockouts.
Player to Watch: Andres Flores
The Salvadorian captain has been relegated to a bench role at the New York Cosmos this year, after several years at Isidro Metapan. An attacking midfielder who can line up centrally or on the right, he needs to be the outlet for El Salvador to spring counterattacks and set up Rafael Burgos.
July 9 (Chicago, IL); July 12 (Glendale, AZ); July 15 (Charlotte, NC)
Head Coach: Miguel Herrera
Here we get to the second of the favorites for this tournament, and El Tri still hasn’t fully recovered from their ordeal in advancing to Brazil 2014. Surprisingly for many, Miguel Herrera remained on as the head coach of the team, even after they were minutes from missing out on 4th place in the Hex.
Between their two summer tournaments, this is the one that matters most. Herrera saved most of his heavyweights for the Gold Cup, choosing a “B” team for the Copa America. Winning the Gold Cup would give El Tri new life in getting to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, necessitating a playoff with the United States.
In Copa America, the Mexicans performed admirably to draw host Chile (who have advanced to the Final), but weren’t able to win either of their other matches against Bolivia or Ecuador. Bowing out of Copa America wasn’t the end of the world, allowing Herrera to focus squarely on the real task.
The Mexico-US rivalry has sided squarely on the American side of the border, which started with a big result at Estadio Azteca back in 2012. That’s something El Tri wants desperately to change. The 2011 Gold Cup left everyone wondering if Mexico was the top of the CONCACAF heap, but Jurgen Klinsmann quickly led his team to the upper hand in this matchup.
Group C should be no problem for Mexico, as they clearly got the easiest draw. Guatemala can be a pest, but it’s tough to see them causing many headaches.
Player to Watch: Giovani Dos Santos
Mexico has several high profile players, but most interesting to watch this go-around is Dos Santos, who is rumored to be in negotiations with Major League Soccer. This is a great opportunity to show off for the league, helping to raise his value – perhaps even to gather interest from Liga MX or other European Clubs.