Mexico vs. Panama, Unpublished Final of the Gold Cup 2023 , are measured this weekend for the supremacy of Concacaf after the Panamanians took revenge against the United States National Team after two lost finals in the history of the competition.
Panama lost the 2005 and 2013 Finals, so a new opportunity now presents itself against the tricolor team, against which they have not lost in their last three matches in the Gold Cup .
Overpowering Jamaica 3-0 in their semi-final tie, Jaime Lozano’s men have won the tournament five times in the 21st century. The Mexicans finished runners-up twice during this span, with their last title coming in the 2019 edition.
Meanwhile, for Los Canaleros, it’s the third time they got their opportunity to claim their maiden Gold Cup title – their previous two appearances in the final ended in a defeat to the United States, whom they knocked out 5-4 on penalties in this year’s semi-finals.
Canada are the only other side to win the competition, as Thomas Christiansen can lead his side to be the fourth team to achieve the feat since 1991.
The trophy caps an incredible turnaround orchestrated by interim manager Jaime Lozano, who took over a team under fire for underperforming in the CONCACAF Nations League and ‘El Jimmy’ injected confidence and belief in El Tri as they won five of their six matches in the Gold Cup with four shutouts.
It would seem like a foregone conclusion that the Mexican federation will give Lozano the full-time job, especially after several of the Mexico players backed him for the job.
Panama started the match strong with a handful of opportunities created by lively forward Ismael Diaz, while Panama goalkeeper ‘Kuty’ Mosquera made a critical double save to keep the score level at halftime. The VAR also scratched an excellent first-half Mexico goal by Henry Martin due to an offside in the lead-up.
The chances were fewer in the second half thanks in part to excellent defending from both sides, and the match looked destined for extra time. But Lozano pushed all the right buttons once again, bringing on Gimenez and watching him score four minutes later to decide the match.
El Jimmy’, 44, doesn’t have a resume that makes him an obvious choice for Mexico national team manager. Outside of a nondescript spell with Queretaro and another with Necaxa, his biggest achievement as a manager was the bronze medal at the 2021 Olympics in charge of Mexico’s Under-23 team.
The articulate Lozano has shown confidence, leadership, and superb management of the players, the media, and the moment. He struck the right tone and made the right common-sense decisions, without complicating things along the way. The air of negativity around the team in recent years has disappeared.
Lozano has a strong feel for these players, especially having coached several of them with the Under-23s. And they trust him. While there will be missteps along the way, but it’s a strong foundation to build on moving forward toward the 2026 World Cup.
Why you should back Mexico
Mexico has secured eight Gold Cup titles since the tournament began, with the last title coming in 2019. During the past five games in the 2023 Gold Cup, Mexico has played stifling defense, recording a shutout in three matchups. In the semifinal versus Jamaica, Mexico kept the pressure consistent, winning the game 3-0.
Midfielder Luis Romo provides this unit with an assertive scorer. Romo has the skill set to put the ball in the back of the net when given the chance. The 28-year-old has scored two goals in five games, including two goals on June 25 against Honduras. Midfielder Luis Chavez is another reliable offensive threat, scoring two goals during the tournament.
Why you should back Panama
Forward Ismael Diaz has been the go-to offensive option for Panama. Diaz utilizes his powerful right foot to score from any area on the field. The 26-year-old ranks first on the team in goals (4), with all of them coming in the last three games. In the July 8 victory over Qatar, he recorded three goals on seven shots.
Defender Eric Davis does a phenomenal job being physical against opposing offensive players. Davis will force his opponents to make quick decisions due to his tenacity. Additionally, the 32-year-old has solid field vision as a facilitator, leading the group in assists (3). Davis has registered an assist in three of his last four matchups.
As the league and Inter Miami prepare for what can only be described domestically as the soccer equivalent of Beatlemania sweeping through the United States and Canada, MLS commissioner Don Garber met with a group of media members near Fort Lauderdale beach where he discussed how they managed to bring arguably the greatest player of this generation here and how the landscape of the league could evolve over time as a result of his arrival.
Garber revealed that Jorge Mas promised him early on to accomplish two things as the team’s managing owner, to complete the Miami Freedom Park stadium project “against insurmountable odds” and land Argentina’s No. 10. They’re halfway to meeting those goals as Messi was introduced as part of “La PresentaSÍon” on Sunday at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, approximately 35 miles away from the stadium project in Miami, located near the Miami International Airport at what used to be the Melreese Country Club.
“What I love about Jorge Mas is that he’s ultimately one of the most optimistic, ambitious and energizing people I have ever met,” said Garber, who pointed out that the buzz surrounding Messi potentially landing in Miami began to pick up toward the end of Paris Saint-Germain’s season when it seemed as if he was not going to stick around in Paris.
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