[GOLD CUP: Group A] Mexico's troubles continued as it fell to Panama, 2-1, in their opening game at the Gold Cup.
The Canaleros had never beaten Mexico in nine previous meetings and entered the game having been shut out in all of their three June World Cup qualifiers, but they were deserving winners with goals from Gabriel Torres at the beginning of both halves.
Panama could have been up by two or three goals in the first half, and the pro-Mexico crowd of 56,822 started to jeer the Tri when it equalized shortly before the end of the first half on Marco Fabian's goal.
On the left wing, Alberto Quintero tormented the shaky Mexico line, getting taken down for the penalty Torres converted in the seventh minute and sending in the cross Torres tapped in at the near post.
The best chance after that for Mexico came when Fabian hit the post.
The loss dropped Mexico's 2013 record to two wins, three losses and eight ties in 13 games. It was only the Tri's third defeat in the group stage at the Gold Cup after losses to South Africa in 2005 and Honduras in 2007.
After the game, fans pelted Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre with objects when he left the field. The usually evasive Chepo was honest in his assessment of his team's performance.
“This is not the soccer we are accustomed to seeing in our national team,” Chepo said.
For almost a month, he has dogged with questions about his future, and again he was asked if he would resign.
“No,” he said. “You asked a yes or no question, and I'm answering directly and clearly.”
In Sunday's opener at the Rose Bowl, Martinique beat Canada, 1-0, on long-range volley by 38-year-old Fabrice Reuperne in the dying seconds of stoppage time to open the 2013 Gold Cup in sensational style.
Les Matinino were deserving winners of a match they dominated, finishing with a 27-8 edge in shots.
Reuperne, who spent 10 years in France and Greece before returning home to Martinique, is holdover from 2002 Gold Cup quarterfinal team.
Group A Results:
July 7 in Pasadena, Calif.
Martinique 1 Canada 0.Goal: Reuperne 93+.
Panama 2 Mexico 1.Goals: G.Torres pen. 7, 48; Fabian 45+2.
Group A Schedule:
July 11 in Seattle
Panama vs. Martinique, 5:30 p.m. PT (8:30 p.m. ET)
Mexico vs. Canada, 8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET)
July 14 in Denver
Martinique vs. Mexico, 2 p.m. MT (4 p.m. ET)
Panama vs. Canada, 4:30 p.m. MT (6:30 p.m. ET)