Following a pair of surprises on the opening matchday, including Mexico's first loss in the Gold Cup in 12 games, the USA remains cautious of minnow Belize.
First, Martinique, an overseas department of France, beat Canada 1-0. Canada is the only team besides the USA and Mexico to win the Gold Cup.
Then, in the following match in the Rose Bowl, Mexico capitulated to Panama, losing 2-1. Mexico was 10-0-2 since last losing in the Gold Cup.
“We saw the results yesterday and that's a good wake-up call,” Landon Donovan said. “We can't be complacent. When you play in a group stage where there's only three games, every game matters immensely. We're very aware of that and we'll be ready to play.”
The United States takes on Belize, the smallest nation in Central America, in Portland's JELD-WEN Field. Belize, which borders Mexico and Guatemala, only has three professional players. A U.S. loss would be the biggest upset of the 2013 tournament thus far.
The entire U.S. roster is professional. Six play in Mexico's Liga MX, including Gold Cup captain and DaMarcus Beasley. However, away from his club teammates at Puebla, the former PSV Eindhoven winger isn't sure what currently ails El Tri.
“I'm not in that camp. I don't know what's going on,” Beasley said. “Obviously as soccer fans we want to see good soccer, so hopefully they get back to their best soon.”
Mexico at its best proves a formidable opponent. El Tri has won a record six Gold Cups, including the last two. (The USA has won four.)
“Beas and I have been a part of three winning teams, but this hasn't happened for six years now,” Donovan, the all-time leading scorer in Gold Cup history, said. “This is very important to us. We're very aware of what happened yesterday in the games, and we want to start off on the right foot.”
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