Mexican Uriel Antuna (right) celebrates his team’s opening goal against United during a Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualification football match in Guadalajara, Mexico on March 24. (AP Photo)
Uriel Antuna scored after a sloppy giveaway from Sebastian Soto in the 45th minute and Mexico beat the USA 1-0 on Wednesday evening in Guadalajara when they qualified for the men’s Olympic football tournament.
Both teams already had the certainty of moving up from Group A to the semi-finals on Sunday. The USA finished Group B 2-1 in second place and will play against Honduras unless Canada beats the Catrachos in the Group B final on Thursday.
Mexico, the 2012 Olympic champion, won his 14th place. Olympic qualifying game in a row from 2008 and took first place 3-0 in Group A.
Semi-final winners from North, Central America and the Caribbean received the last two places in the 16-nation field for the Olympic Games to be played in Tokyo, Kashima, Miyagi, Saitama, Sapporo and Yokohama from July 21 to August 7.
Antuna, a 23-year-old Chivas winger, who was loaned to LA Galaxy from Manchester City in 2019 was, picked up a loose ball about 35 yards from goal, which Soto hit incorrectly after a feed upfield from Henry Kessler. Antuna made multiple touches to make room in front of Kessler and Maurico Pineda as he cut to the edge of the arch, then hit goalkeeper David Ochoa with a right-footed shot for his second goal of the tournament.
The US men failed to qualify for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. This trend was followed by the senior team’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Due to the delay caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, FIFA was still approved for players who were on January 1, 2007 or were born later. Each Olympic team can use three wildcard players over the age limit.
US coach Jason Kreis made six changes to his starting line-up for the second game in a row. He gave Kessler in central defense and Soto in the first start and gave Ochoa, full-back Andres Herrera, and midfielders Hassani Dotson and Djordje Mihailovic, who started the game, another opening win 1-0 against Costa Rica.
Full-back Julian Araujo, Pineda in central defense and midfielders Andrés Perea, Johnny Cardoso and Sebastian Saucedo also started the 4-0 victory over the Dominican Republic.
Kreis made three misses in the 61st minute and sat Jackson Yueill, Jonathan Lewis and Jesús Ferreira, who wore a yellow card from the start and would be banned with another. Hassani Dotson (Taylor Tessman replaced Hassani Dotson, who appeared to have twisted his left ankle, in 76th. Dotson scored twice against the Dominicans.
Sebastián Jurado replaced Mexican goalkeeper Luis Malagón in the 39th minute after the starter appeared to have injured a wrist in a collision.
The clubs do not have to approve any players for the Olympic qualification or the Olympic Games, which most of the most famous players from tournament teams refused
In the first game of the double header, Costa sat down Rica beat Dominican Republic 5-0 through. Randall Leal of Nashville in Major League Soccer scored two goals and Manfred Ugalde, Bernald Alfaro and Aaron Salazar each scored one.
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