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Canada blanked by Mexico in Gold Cup qualifying

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The Canadian Press
7/12/2013 1:27:31 AM
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SEATTLE -- Canada saw its hopes of qualifying for the Gold Cup playoff round fade Thursday night in a 2-0 loss to Mexico.

Canada fell to 0-2 and, with only one round-robin game remaining, will be hard-pressed to advance. Mexico evened its record at 1-1 before a pro-Mexican crowd of 28,354 at CenturyLink Field.

Raul Jimenez, in the first half, Marco Fabian, on a penalty-kick in the second, scored for Mexico.

The Mexicans atoned for an upset loss to Panama in their first game.

Despite Seattle's proximity to Canada, the Canadians were clearly the visiting side. Mexico's supporters vastly outnumbered Canadians in the crowd. Every section of the stadium was flush with fans in green jerseys, with many sporting Mexican flags.

Most of Canada's fans occupied a small corner of the stadium.

Despite the joyous atmosphere, both teams entered the game in difficult circumstances. Canada is attempting to rebuilding its struggling squad in wake of a humiliating 8-1 loss to Honduras in World Cup qualifying last year.

Meanwhile, Mexican coach Jose Manuel (Chepo) de la Torre has come under fire as a result of his team's opening loss to Panama and a 1-0-5 record in World Cup qualifying. Reports have speculated that he will be fired unless Mexico wins its third consecutive Gold Cup.

Both Canada's and Mexico's tasks became more difficult when Panama beat Martinique earlier Thursday. The win gave Panama a perfect 2-0 mark and assured it will advance to the knock-out stage regardless of how it fares against Mexico in the final round-robin game for both teams on Sunday.

Canadian interim coach Colin Miller opted to continue with goalkeeper Milan Borjan after he gave up a last-minute goal in the loss to Martinique. But Miller was forced to shuffle other parts of his lineup after midfielder Russell Teibert missed the game due to an illness picked up earlier this week and captain Will Johnson (illness) and striker Simeon Jackson (club commitment) left the club along with reserve striker Randy Edwini-Bonsu (injury.)

Canada spent much of the first half hoping for a quick counter attack while often folding five or six players back to defend. However, the Mexicans still found space, recording five shots on goal and earning seven corner-kicks.

Canada mustered just two shots while forcing three corner-kicks.

Borjan was tested early as he two-fisted away a free kick from Fabian from just outside the corner of the Canadian box. A little while later, Canada had a chance but Marcus Haber's close-range shot from a sharp angle was stopped.

In the 21st minute, Borjan was injured as he collided with Jimenez as they raced to a loose ball. The Canadian 'keeper was tended by trainers, who bent and unbent his right leg a few times, but he stayed in the game.

Haber had a scoring chance in the 29th minute as Mexican goalkeer Jonathan Orozco dove to stop his header off a Kyle Bekker free kick.

Jimenez gave Mexico a 1-0 lead on a header in the 42nd minute as Jorge Enriquez flicked a corner-kick onto him. The corner-kick resulted after Borjan robbed Marquez from about 10 yards out after an errant bounce off a Canadian defender.

It was Jimenez's first career goal at the senior international level. He is new to the national squad this year.

Canada started the second half with a new striker as Tosaint Ricketts replaced Haber, but the change had little impact.

Fabian gave Mexico a 2-0 lead on a penalty-kick in the 57th minute as Canadian defender David Edgar was whistled for tripping him slightly in the box. Goalkeeper Borjan guessed the wrong way as Fabian rolled in a shot to the opposite corner of the net.

The infraction came a day after Edgar spoke of the importance of staying disciplined at the back. Later, Edgar was lucky only to get a yellow card after he delivered a kick from behind to Jimenez's mid-section after the ball had left the vicinity.

Marcel De Jong had a chance to put Canada on the scoreboard just before three minutes of added time, but Mexican goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco thwarted his free kick.

Notes: Mexico lost Jorge Enriquez to an apparent hamstring injury early in the second half. ... Canada's Keven Aleman, 19, earned his first senior international cap as he subbed on for Kyle Bekker in the second half. Aleman also had the option of playing for Costa Rica, where he was born, but chose to suit up for Canada instead. ... Unlike most FIFA-sanctioned matches, the game was played on artificial turf. CONCACAF opted not to use a temporary grass overlay like the one used here in June for Vancouver Whitecaps-Seattle Sounders MLS game and a U.S.-Panama World Cup qualifier. Both MLS and FIFA have given CenturyLink Field's artificial turf negative reviews, but still permitted games to be played on it.

Layun and Jimenez celebrate (Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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