More than 600 mariachi band members set a Guinness world record at halftime of the Gold Cup game between Mexico and Panama at the Rose Bowl, but the jeers from the pro-Mexico crowd of 56,822 directed toward Mexico Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre made the real noise.
Mexico flopped, 2-1, in its Gold Cup opener to fall to 1-3-3 under de la Torre in 2013, and many are calling for the dismissal of the coach.
Asked afterward whether the job was too much for him, de la Torre replied with a quick "No." But that still doesn't draw attention away from Mexico's scoring woes.
"All the teams pass through trouble, Barcelona, Real Madrid. … If you don't have character you can't get yourself out of difficult situations," de la Torre said.
Mexico had a difficult situation seven minutes into the game when Panama midfielder Alberto Quintero was taken down in the box, leading to a penalty kick. Gabriel Torres put Panama ahead, 1-0, with a resolute shot into the left corner.
It was also Torres who ended a 1-1 tie after Mexico forward Marco Fabian beat an offside trap and sent a shot into the bottom corner right before halftime. Three minutes into the second half, Torres made a near-post run and took a backheel stab at a low cross to put it past goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco.
"Important win," Coach Julio Dely Valdes said. "It's good to win like this but we are not finished. It is just getting started for us."
Fabian seemed to be the only attacking force for Mexico, which had five shots on goal. The Chivas of Guadalajara attacker came close to tying the game again, in the 53rd minute, with a diving poke that deflected off a defender and hit the post.
Mexico travels to Seattle for a Thursday matchup with Canada that holds the added significance that it could become an elimination game.
“The main objective is still to qualify for the
But, like the coach's status, that's on shaky ground.