By Ivan Orozco
SEATTLE – Mexico head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre trusts that his team will rebound from an opening 2-1 loss to Panama, when it faces Canada on Thursday in the second Group A match for each at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The 48-year-old stated that he expects El Tri to play its game and stay focused on the task at hand. He is concerned only about winning.
“I never think about losing,” de la Torre commented at a Wednesday press conference.
Changes to the starting lineup, however, remain a possibility.
“We are contemplating that and looking at that,” said the former Guadalajara and Toluca chief. “We have confidence in these players. If they are here it is because we believe in them. They understand it and they understand what we ask of them.”
Regardless of which players de la Torre eventually deploys on the CenturyLink Field pitch, the outcome ultimately lies with the players and the way they prepare for the match. That’s what defender Joel Huiqui believes.
“It is always important to have an analysis of the last game and the things we need to work on,” Huiqui said. “We have to have a clear objective and know what we are trying to do on the field.”
As the Mexicans try to gain points in the group standings to stay in contention for a quarterfinal place, they also might be playing to maintain some of their supporters' faith.
“It’s fine that they criticize us,” expressed Mexico goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco. “It is good that they demand good results from us. They want a national team that can do a good job.”
Artificial field not a problem
Mexico is accustomed to playing on natural grass surfaces throughout the world. In this Pacific Northwest city, El Tri will face Canada on a synthetic surface at CenturyLink Field, where Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders play.
“I am used to it,” Orozco shared. “I’ve played here before (with Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League) and it’s a good field. The ball bounces well on it. It really doesn’t matter. Most of us grew up playing on dirt fields with rocks. We can’t complain.”
Mexico players relieved some stress Tuesday night, attending a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field.
“I’m a (New York) Yankees fan, but it was a great game,” Orozco said. “It was a nice distraction and we enjoyed ourselves."