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The Mexican national team will feel right at home in Pasadena on Thursday night in front of what is expected to be a large, overwhelmingly pro-Mexico crowd at the Rose Bowl.
After a 3-1 victory over Uruguay, Mexico will play CONCACAF foe Jamaica at 7 p.m. with a chance to clinch a Copa America Centenario quarterfinal berth. If El Tri wins, they secure a top-two finish in Group C.
The game is a rematch of the 2015 Gold Cup final when Mexico won 3-1 in front of yet another boisterous green, red and white-clad crowd in Philadelphia.
“Every time we play here in the United States, we are very privileged,” Mexico defender Hector Moreno said in Spanish. “We are very blessed to have the support of the people here. Whether it’s in Los Angeles or any major (U.S.) city, they come to support us. We take that as extra motivation rather than that being a disadvantage (for other teams).”
The stakes for Jamaica are high as the island nation would be eliminated from quarterfinal contention with a loss. However, Jamaica forward Giles Barnes, who plays for the Houston Dynamo, said the potential for elimination is not on the team’s radar.
“We’ve got the fire in our belly from the Gold Cup final,” he said. “We’re thinking that we’re going to be here for the long run.”
Mexico has a 20-game unbeaten streak, the longest active streak in the world. The Reggae Boyz have only four wins against Mexico in their history, with the most recent coming in 2008 in World Cup Qualifying. Playing in its second straight Copa America, Jamaica has yet to earn a single point in a Copa match. The team lost 1-0 to Venezuela in its opening game this year and lost all three of its group games in 2015 by the same score.
There is a difficult task ahead, but Jamaica coach Winfried Schaefer said his team is not afraid of the challenge. He remembers how his team was able to sway some of the Mexican supporters at last year’s Gold Cup and earn their applause by the end of the match. He hopes the game in the Rose Bowl will end with similar praise, but a different result.
“I hope after one hour, the Mexico people come to us,” Schaefer said. “It’s possible.”
The United States got a much-needed win against Costa Rica on Tuesday to stay in contention to advance out of Group A at Copa America Centenario. The 4-0 win puts the United States in the best position to take the second quarterfinal spot out of Group A after Colombia became the first team to sew up its quarterfinal berth with a win over Paraguay on Tuesday.
With one group game left, the United States can advance to the quarterfinals with:
With one group game left, the United States can advance as the top seed out of Group A:
Group A and Group B are paired together in the quarterfinals.
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The above chart, compiled by secondary ticket seller rukkus.com, shows that U.S. isn’t the biggest draw in the tournament it is hosting.
The get in price, BTW, is essentially the cheapest ticket on the secondary market, said Jake Sharpless, rukkus.com data and content manager.
“In some cases these tickets are selling for less than face value, which truly indicates the demand of the event,” he said. “Average prices to see Argentina or Mexico games are higher than those of the U.S. For Mexico we know there is a strong contingent of Mexican American fans that attend games whenever they play in the US, but the Argentina draw is coming from Americans who want to see Messi in person.”
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Giovani dos Santos stirred up controversy this week when Mexican national team manager Juan Carlos Osorio left the 27-year-old Galaxy forward off the federation’s roster for next month’s Copa American Centenario. According to Osorio, dos Santos declined the invitation, choosing club over country.
After Osorio released the roster Tuesday, dos Santos declined to speak about the situation this week, saying his main focus will be on the Galaxy leading up to a Cali Clasico match with San Jose at home at 4 p.m.
“The only thing that I can say is that I’m very concentrated on my team,” he said. “I’m working really hard, and I’m looking forward to the game on Sunday. I feel great right now.
The midfielder has been in impressive form recently with five goals and five assists in the past five games.
He has not played for Mexico since the CONCACAF Gold Cup last summer when he missed the final three rounds due to injury and Mexico won the title. Continue reading
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Fox telecasts its first-ever FA Cup final-MLS doubleheader Saturday; the noon New York derby immediately follows the 9:30 a.m. Manchester United-Crystal Palace final.
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Also: England-Turkey 9:15 a.m. Sunday Fox Sports 2
Giovani dos Santos will not represent his country in next month’s Copa America Centenario because the 27-year-old L.A. Galaxy midfielder declined the national team call-up, according to Mexico national team manager Juan Carlos Osorio.
Osorio announced the roster Tuesday, but chose to keep the specifics of his conversation with dos Santos private.
— Selección Nacional (@miseleccionmx) May 17, 2016
Dos Santos declined to comment on the national team situation while on Sirus XM Radio with Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl.
The midfielder has been in impressive form recently as he has five goals and five assists in the past five games. The Galaxy are unbeaten in their past eight games heading into a home match against San Jose this Sunday.