The CONCACAF Gold Cup continues on Wednesday night with the four teams from Group A back in action for the second time. The nightcap will feature Mexico taking on Guatemala at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Mexico is heavily favored to win with a -2500 moneyline compared to Guatemala’s moneyline of +4900 while a draw is listed at +1000.
Of course, a draw is what happened to Mexico in their last game, as El Tri played a scoreless match with Trinidad & Tobago. It was a disappointing result after the Mexicans entered the Gold Cup on the heels of a 3-0 win over Panama and a 4-0 win over Nigeria. That draw could also complicate Mexico’s fortunes for the rest of the tournament, making it critical that they bounce back with a win over Guatemala on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Guatemalans weren’t even expecting to be in this tournament. They suffered an agonizing penalty shootout loss to Guadeloupe earlier this month during qualifying but were put into the tournament as a last-minute replacement for Curacao. Naturally, Los Chapines looked a little unprepared during their 2-0 loss to El Salvador on Sunday, making it critical that they get a result against Mexico.
It was a case of total domination in Guatemala’s first match, just not in a way that favored them. Los Chapines managed just 31% of the possession and one shot on goal against El Salvador. The only silver lining is that they managed to keep El Salvador off the scoreboard for the first 80 minutes. They can expect a similar game against Mexico, although it should be even more difficult to keep the Mexicans from scoring.
To their credit, the Guatemalans have a fair amount of international experience in the squad. They also had an unbeaten run of 11 straight matches until losing to El Salvador on Sunday. They’ve done well to keep teams from scoring during that stretch. However, Los Chapines lack high-end talent with most of their players making their living in the domestic league in Guatemala.
El Tri Looks for Answers
The Mexicans had to have been incredibly frustrated after their scoreless draw with Trinidad & Tobago. El Tri owned 82% of the possession and outshot the small Caribbean nation 30-4. But even with 15 corner kicks and seven shots on goal, Mexico never found the breakthrough.
To make matters worse, Mexico lost Napoli-based striker Hirving Lozano to an ugly injury early in the Trinidad & Tobago match, forcing him to miss the rest of the tournament. With the likes of Andrés Guardado, Chicharito Hernández, and Raúl Jiménez not on the roster for the Gold Cup, the Mexican team is lacking potential match-winners. That will be a huge question for Mexico moving forward with just two players on the roster having more than five international goals.
Guatemala vs Mexico Prediction
Despite questions about Mexico’s quality in the final third with Lozano hurt, it seems unlikely El Tri will be held scoreless in back-to-back matches. There is an even bigger talent gap in this game than either team experienced in their opening match. Bet on Mexico to find the back of the net early and beat Guatemala by a comfortable margin.