SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 29: Aldo De Nigris #9, middle, of Mexico celebrates scoring a goal with teammates Efrain Guardado #16 and Pablo Barrera #9 against Venezuela during the second half of the exhibition game at Qualcomm Stadium on March 29, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)

Mexico Vs. Costa Rica, Gold Cup (Copa Oro) 2011, Group A: El Tri Win 4-1

El Tri embarrassed Costa Rica in the first half, then completely let off the gas as they coasted to an easy 4-1 victory over the Ticos.

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Mexico Vs. Costa Rica Final Score, Gold Cup (Copa Oro) 2011: El Tri Win 4-1

With their big win tonight over Costa Rica, Mexico have gone through to the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup in emphatic fashion, sending a message to all of their competitors. They were so good tonight that they didn't need 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez, they didn't need Giovani dos Santos, and they didn't even need the second half. They breezed through the second 45 minutes appearing to take it easy and even allowing the Ticos to score one garbage goal as they took a win by a final score of 4-1.

Andres Guardado was the star of the show, scoring a brace in a seven minute time period. Rafael Marquez opened the scoring with a header on a corner kick 17 minutes into the game before Guardado scored the next two in a row. The first was an absolutely stunning laser beam of a strike, and the second was a good, hard near post drive from 12 yards out. Pablo Barrera completed the scoring towards the end of the first half.

Costa Rica nicked a goal in the second half as substitute Marco Ureña scored a nice goal off of a setup by Bryan Ruiz, but it was the only life that the Ticos had in them. They were so thoroughly embarrassed in the first half that Mexico could stop trying, as there was no coming back from either the deficit or the sting of the embarrassing nature of the beating they received. Mexico is now likely to play Guatemala or Canada in the quarterfinals.

For more on Mexico vs. Costa Rica, the 2011 Gold Cup (Copa Oro), and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.

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Mexico Vs. Costa Rica Score, Gold Cup 2011: Halftime, El Tri Lead 4-0

Someone forgot to tell Costa Rica their game was in Chicago, then gave some random bums Costa Rica shirts. Surely there's no other reasonable explanation for what's happening tonight, as Mexico have absolutely dismantled and embarrassed the Ticos in the first 45 minutes. Things are getting so bad that Costa Rica might actually be in danger of missing the quarterfinals, as they're currently down by a score of 4-0 at halftime.

The opening minutes of the game were exciting on both ends, but when Rafael Marquez headed in a corner kick in the 17th minute to net the first goal for El Tri, it seemed like all of the air was let out of the Ticos' sails. Andres Guardado scored arguably the goal of the tournament with a laser of a shot in the 19th minute, then completed his brace and gave Mexico a 3-0 lead with another great goal in the 26th, Pablo Barrera added to the massacre in the 38th minute, scoring from inside the penalty area as the Ticos defense collapsed.

Giovani dos Santos and 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez have been the most dangerous Mexican players in the early part of the tournament, but they haven't even been needed tonight. Mexico are destroying Costa Rica without them, and it's gotten bad enough that 'Chepo' Jose Manuel de la Torre might opt to give them a rest.

For more on Mexico vs. Costa Rica, the 2011 Gold Cup (Copa Oro), and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.

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Mexico Vs. Costa Rica, Gold Cup 2011: Andres Guardado Brace Makes It 3-0 To El Tri

Now this is getting embarrassing. After just 23 minutes of play, what was billed as potentially one of the great games of the tournament has turned into an absolutely atrocious performance from Costa Rica. Thanks to another goal by Andres Guardado - this one considerably more stoppable than the first - Mexico now have a 3-0 lead over the Ticos and can likely coast to w in, all nine points in the group, and the top seed in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup.

Guardado scored this goal cutting into the box onto his weaker right foot from his left wing position. The keeper looked like he didn't respect Guardado's ability to shoot with his right at all, which turned out to be a big mistake. Guardado hit a hard, low shot to the near post that flew into the back of the net, giving El Tri an incredible 3-0 lead.

For more on Mexico vs. Costa Rica, the 2011 Gold Cup (Copa Oro), and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.

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Mexico Vs. Costa Rica, Gold Cup 2011: Andres Guardado Stunner Doubles El Tri's Lead

Just two minutes after Rafael Marquez put Mexico ahead with a 17th minute header off of a corner kick, Andres Guardado has doubled El Tri's lead on Costa Rica, and they look like they are well on their way to winning this game and winning Group A in Gold Cup with all nine points. Costa Rica looked fine in the early going, but they seem shell shocked now and it doesn't seem like there's any coming back from this.

Guardado's goal is an early goal of the tournament candidate; a spectacular volley from just inside the penalty area. The goalkeeper had absolutely no chance to make a stop and the team went wild. Incredibly, just seconds after the goal, Giovani dos Santos had a chance to make it 3-0 and missed an absolute sitter. 

For more on Mexico vs. Costa Rica, the 2011 Gold Cup (Copa Oro), and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.

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Mexico Vs. Costa Rica, Gold Cup 2011: Rafael Marquez Goal Puts El Tri Up

It's been a wild start to the Gold Gup Group A finale between Mexico and Costa Rica, and it's no surprise that there has already been a goal. Rafael Marquez of the New York Red Bulls, starting in place of the suspended 'Maza' Rodriguez is the man who put El Tri on the board, scoring with a header on a corner kick.

Both teams have been pushing forward and creating chances early, and Marquez's goal is likely to be the first of multiple goals in this game. Both teams look like they have a goal in them, though Marquez's goal is indicative of the fact that Mexico look like they have more. They're always going to be dangerous on the break and through build-up play, but if they can also be dangerous on set pieces, it's bad news for the rest of the teams in the competition.

For more on Mexico vs. Costa Rica, the 2011 Gold Cup (Copa Oro), and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.

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Mexico Vs. Costa Rica, Gold Cup (Copa Oro) 2011: Lineups

Unsurprisingly, Mexico have opted to stick to the same starting lineup that defeated Cuba 5-0. They have not yet heard whether or not they will be allowed replacement players for the players who were kicked off the team for doping, so they only have six players on the bench. 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez already has five goals in this tournament, and he'll be the main concern for Costa Rica. They have a serious weapon of their own in Bryan Ruiz, who is making his first Gold Cup start after getting through a nagging injury. Here are the lineups.

Mexico lineup (4-2-3-1): Talavera; Salcido, Márquez, Moreno, Juárez; Torrado, Castro; Barrera, Dos Santos, Guardado; Hernández

Costa Rica lineup: Navas, Acosta, Salvatierra, Borges, Mora, Bolaños, Saborío, Ruiz, Díaz, Marshall, Guevara

The game kicks off from Soldier Field at 8:00 pm ET, 7:00 pm local time. It can be seen on Univision in the United States.

For more on Mexico vs. Costa Rica, the 2011 Gold Cup (Copa Oro), and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.

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Mexico Has To Play Starters Against Costa Rica - FMF State Of Mind

Jose Manuel 'Chepo' de la Torre would probably like to rest some of his starters at some point, but unfortunately for him, he is unlikely to have such an opportunity. After five Mexico players were sent home after testing positive for a banned substance, the roster is suddenly very thin. As a result, all of the starters will play tonight, as SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State of Mind explains:

The number five has loomed large over this Mexico team so far in the Gold Cup. El Tri has steamrolled over its first two opponents - El Salvador and Cuba - by identical 5-0 margins. The number also came into play just prior to the Cuba match when it was announced that five players would be suspended after testing positive for a banned substance. Without the suspended Maza Rodriguez, Memo Ochoa, Edgar Dueñas, Sinha, and "Hobbit" Bermudez, (along with Ricardo Osorio who previously retuned to Mexico for medical attention), the Mexico roster remains a bit thin.

Normally, manager Chepo de la Torre would probably look to rest a few key players for the next round. But with the team's personnel limitations, he may end up playing all of his key players again on Sunday. That would include Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos, who have both been outstanding for Mexico in the tournament. Chicharito has scored five goals in two games, while Dos Santos was named man of the match by the media for his performance against Cuba.

Costa Rica can go top of the group with a win, while they return star striker Bryan Ruiz. As a result, it's unlikely that Chepo would have rested his starters tonight even if he had a full squad available to him, but another game on the legs of his stars will have him starting to worry about fatigue.

For more on Mexico vs. Costa Rica, the 2011 Gold Cup (Copa Oro), and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.

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Mexico Vs. Costa Rica, Gold Cup (Copa Oro) 2011, Group A: Preview, Plus El Salvador Vs. Cuba

Mexico are yet to hear the decision on whether or not they will be allowed replacement players for the players they sent home for doping, but if their first two games are any indication, they don't need any. A 17 man squad appears to be working just fine for El Tri, who have 10 goals in two games. El Salvador and Cuba are considerably weaker opposition than tonight's opponent, Costa Rica, but a team still has to be on their game to score 10 goals in two games in just about any professional competition.

Giovani dos Santos looks like a man reborn, while 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez looks exactly like the player we assumed he would be. Gio has finally stopped being a bunch of unfulfilled talent, missing chances left and right, and started playing like the star he should be. Chicharito now has 19 goals in 25 games in a Mexico shirt. 

Today, they will probably have to up their games. Costa Rica were very disappointing in their last match against El Salvador and it's possible that they're not a legitimate challenger to Mexico, but they are still the best team that Mexico have faced up until this point in the competition. Bryan Ruiz, their best player, will finally start and probably go 90 minutes. Christian Bolaños and Celso Borges will continue to look dangerous. And if Alvaro Saborio gets the chances he got in the El Salvador game, he probably won't squander them.

Costa Rica has shown a willingness to use both a three-man back line and a four-man back line, and Mexico is likely licking their chops thinking about the former. If Costa Rica opts for a back three, it wouldn't be surprising to see Mexico swap the positions of Pablo Barrera and Andres Guardado, turning their setup into what essentially becomes a 4-3-3 with a double pivot, simply to have a good matchup against that back three. Ricardo La Volpe is a great coach, and he probably knows better.

Soldier Field will be packed for tonight's game, and it will be raucous. With a great crowd and two great teams on display, it'll be a spectacle worth watching for any football fan.

El Salvador vs. Cuba

With their performance against Costa Rica, El Salvador proved that they're one of the eight best teams in this tournament and worthy quarterfinalists. Tonight, they need a win to prove it. It will likely set up a date against Panama or Jamaica, a difficult but winnable game.

For more on Mexico vs. Costa Rica, the 2011 Gold Cup (Copa Oro), and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.

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