CARSON, Calif -- With only pride on the line, Mexico took the pitch against Panama at The Home Depot Center and both teams played like there was nothing at stake. 0-0 for most of the match, Mexico didn't break through until stoppage time to win the match 1-0 and go 3-0-0 through the group stages. Mexico will face Canada in the semi-finals in Kansas City.
Erick Torres was the man to finally break through for Mexico, with a stoppage time goal that gave the 10,061 in attendance something to cheer for finally. Jeronimo Amione brought down a cross from in the box, and laid the ball out for Erick Torres right in front of goal who smashed it into the back of the net.
The first half was uneventful, with Mexico trotting out a sub-optimal side and Panama having nothing to play for. There were some good chances, but no urgency to finish them. Of some note is Miguel Ponce, who was born in California and plays for Guadalajara, getting the start tonight at left back. Otherwise, it was a fairly listless first half.
Marco Fabian, a long established played at Guadalajara, came on an hour into the match confusing many. His presence had been missed, but with qualifying assured it just didn't seem necessary.
Mexico finished with a +10 goal differential, easily the best in the tournament. Victory over Canada will see the team through to the Olympics, after not making it out of the group stage in 2008.
Panama and Mexico took an equal number of shots, but Panama was much better at hitting the target tonight with only one shot off target.