Javier Hernandez will look to build off a hat-trick performance against a Cuban side that suffered a 5-0 defeat in its opening match against Costa Rica.
Just ask El Salvador, which watched the Mexican star record a hat trick in his tournament debut in El Tri’s 5-0 thrashing of the Central American nation last Sunday.
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez is widely considered the best player in the CONCACAF region and will look to prove it once again when Mexico takes on Cuba Thursday night in Charlotte in what will likely be another packed house filled with green and red jerseys.
Unlike the American team, Mexico draws fans in the United States. There were over 80,000 supporters of the team at Cowboys Stadium to watch the team embarrass El Salvador.
Chicharito did not disappoint in the Group A contest as he scored the final three goals of the match, including a penalty kick that lobbed into the net in extra time. Efraín Juárez and Aldo De Nigris started a scoring spree of four goals in a span of 12 minutes.
Chicharito dedicated his goals to the father of teammate Sinha who recently passed away.
"It was a really nice gesture on his part, I wasn't expecting it," Sinha said. "I thank God for having such nice people on my side."
While the result was more than anything Mexico could ask for, coach Jose Manuel de la Torre has to be a bit concerned about his team’s slow start in the match. The less-talented El Salvador squad held Mexico scoreless through the first 55 minutes.
de la Torres will need to make a change in lineup with defender Ricardo Osorio leaving the team due to illness. Osorio had recently complained of pain in his urinary tract, and with a family history of prostate disease, Mexico's medical staff decided to send him home for tests.
Rafa Marquez of the Red Bulls, who did not get off the bench Sunday after originally losing his starting spot due to injury, could earn some playing time this week.
"If I start or not [against Cuba] is 'Chepo's' decision," he said. "We have work as a group to win the Cup, we can't do much more than that."
The Cubans, meanwhile, were on the wrong side of a 5-0 decision against Costa Rica on Sunday in the undercard for Mexico. Now, on the big stage, it will have to play its best to knock off the tournament favorite.
The match kicks off at 9 p.m. ET.