Group C Round 3 Recap: Mexico thrill, Jamaica bores

IMAGE, CONMEBOL.COM

by JACK HAZZARD

Mexico continues to impress while Jamaica does not.

Kicking off the night, Mexico remained undefeated in group play as they came back to draw Venezuela 1-1 in order to claim the top spot in Group C. In the other match, Uruguay finally decided to show up to the tournament, destroying Jamaica 3-0.

MEXICO AVOID DIFFICULT ARGENTINA MATCH

As Group C came to a close Monday night, table leaders Venezuela and Mexico fought it out in Houston, Texas to see who would leave as the group’s top seed.

The two sides went in to the match already with a spot in the knockout round. However, the winners of the match could avoid a grueling match against high-flying Argentina, adding a certain incentive to this encounter.

The game started off with consistent pressure from Venezuela, keeping Mexico clueless early on. In the tenth minute, Venezuela earned a free kick far outside of the box, suggesting a back post cross would be in order. The cross was sent in perfectly to the cluster of players at the back post, allowing a Venezuelan player to head it down to center back Jose Velazquez, who was wide open. The F.C. Arouca defender pulled off an acrobatic scissor kick to slam it past Jose Corona.

Following the brilliant goal, the two sides looked even going in to halftime. Mexico went on to make their second substitution following the break, suggesting a formation change. From then on, Mexico became relentless. El Tri finally figured out the pace of their opposition and began to show spurts of life. The match remained stale until Bundesliga star Javier Hernandez made a substitute appearance around the 65′ minute.

Upon the arrival of Chicharito, Mexico began to attack relentlessly, forcing Venezuela’s Daniel Hernandez to make some breath-taking saves. However, in the 80′ minute, young Mexican striker Jesus Corona took on the whole Venezuela back-line with a beautiful run and placed it past Hernandez, leveling the match at one.

The game ended 1-1 with Mexico claiming the top spot in the group, earning a match against Group D’s runner-up. As for Venezuela, they will take on the winner of Group D, who most likely will be Argentina.

URUGUAY SHOW UP A LITTLE TOO LATE

The final match from Group C had little to no meaning for either side. Both countries went into the match already eliminated from the knockout stage, leaving their encounter to be nothing more than a competitive friendly.

The match started slow, lacking inspiration from either side. A lackadaisical Jamaican defense was easily exploited by a fact paced Uruguay offense. In the 20′ minute, Uruguay striker Abel Hernandez sprinted through the Caribbean team’s defense, scoring a classy goal to put his country up 1-0. 

The rest of the half was uneventful. The second didn’t have much going on until the 66′ minute when Jamaican defender JeVaughn Watson scored an accidental own goal. A perfect cross from Uruguay bounced up to Watson who hit it in with his hand, putting Jamaica down 2-0. As the match progressed, Uruguay didn’t let up following the own goal. They kept constant pressure on Jamaica, eventually scoring a third in the 88′ minute from an easy chance for Corujo.

Although this game did not have a lot of meaning going into the match, it meant a lot for Uruguay. Through two pitiful matches, the South American country decided to show the world why they are one of the best. Their crisp passing and strong formation stood out against a slow Jamaican side.

As for Jamaica, they have a lot to think about. Following an impressive Gold Cup performance last year, Jamaica have now fallen back to Earth, leaving great uncertainty about the team — and it’s potential.

WHAT’S NEXT?

June 18: Mexico vs. TBA  (10 PM EST; Santa Clara, CA)

June 18: Venezuela vs. TBA (7 PM EST; Foxborough, MA)