Canada entered the tournament with little preparation and without many of its better players but earned the tie in a match that saw both goalscorers later red-carded.
Will Johnson, who grew up playing with American internationals Michael Bradley and Jonathan Spector with Chicago's Sockers FC, scored to give Canada the shock lead in the third minute.
Luis Angel Landin equalized on a penalty kick in the 22nd minute, but Mexico couldn't break the deadlock.
Both goalscorers were later sent off -- Landin in the 66th minute for two yellow cards and Johnson 10 minutes later with a straight red.
Goalkeeper Josh Wagenaar, who attended Hartwick College and is now a free agent after a short career in Europe, came up with a big save late in the game when he stopped New Mexico native Edgar Castillo's shot from close range.
Wagenaar got the nod against Mexico because No. 1 keeper Asmir Begovic was serving a one-game suspension.
In Wednesday's first game, Guatemala edged Haiti, 1-0.
Star Marvin Avila had the only goal for Guatemala in the 27th minute.