Once again, the primary color on display at CenturyLink Field was green.
But this time, instead of the rave green of Seattle Sounders FC, it was the green of the Mexico national team that dominated through the crowd of 28,354 Thursday attending a CONCACAF Gold Cup doubleheader.
And those fans went home happily celebrating Mexico’s 2-0 win over Canada.
“The fans have always been very supportive,” Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre said through a translator. “For example, we see people getting close to the hotel, asking the players for photos, for autographs of the players. So we’ve always felt very supported from beginning to end, in particular in the stadium tonight.”
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El Tri came out with energy, which Canada slowly seemed to be matching. But that changed abruptly in the 42nd minute when Mexico earned a corner kick, and Raul Jimenez finished with a diving header into the net, assisted by Jorge Enriquez.
Mexico made it 2-0 in the 57th minute when Marco Fabian drove home a penalty kick after a foul call that Canada coach Colin Miller strongly disputed.
The result sent Mexico (1-1) into a second-place tie with Martinique (1-1) in Group A, from which at least the top two finishers will advance.
“We improved on many things, but we’re still missing a few others,” de la Torre said. “ In the previous games, the other teams had less pace, attacked more and also made us spread ourselves more, and that creates some risks. This time around we managed to be a little bit more compact, and the result in itself helps grow the team.”
Canada (0-2) is alone at the bottom of the group. Despite that, Miller saw positives in his team’s performance.
“I was just singing the Canadian team’s praises against a Mexican team fighting for survival in the tournament also,” Miller said.
In the first game, Panama (2-0) moved to the top of the group with a 1-0 win over Martinique. The lone goal came on a Gabriel Torres penalty kick in the 85th minute.
Martinique played the final 18 minutes with 10 men, as Jacky Berdix was sent off on his second yellow card. Former Sounders trialist Roberto Chen went 90 minutes at center back for Panama.
Group A play will conclude Sunday in Denver where Panama plays Canada and Martinique meets Mexico.
Gold Cup is the tournament that every two years determines the national team champion for North America, Central American and the Caribbean.
Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (quad) said he expects to return to action Saturday when Seattle visits the San Jose Earthquakes in Major League Soccer. Former Sounders reserve goalkeeper Andrew Weber has returned to the club on loan from Phoenix FC of USL-Pro. He will fill in for No. 2 goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, who is expected to miss three to four weeks with a hamstring injury. Weber, 29, has made 14 appearances for Phoenix FC this season with a 1.48 goals-against average. In 2012, he made three MLS starts for the Sounders. He also has MLS experience with D.C. United and San Jose. Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said he expects the club to receive cash, but not allocation money, if a deal goes through sending Fredy Montero to Sporting Lisbon. Hanauer also said “at some point in the future” the club would like to bring the MLS All-Star game to Seattle. The 2014 game was awarded to Portland on Wednesday.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org/soccer