Things looked bad for Mexico, as they got off to a terrible start in their Gold Cup quarterfinal match against Guatemala. In the 5th minute, Hector Moreno made a terrible error, allowing Carlos Ruiz to get onto a long ball at the top of the penalty area unmarked. Goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera came out too far and Ruiz chipped the ball over him, giving Guatemala a 1-0 lead. Mexico went into halftime a disappointed and slightly stunned team, but they have started slow in other games in this tournament. It felt like the explosion was coming and it did, as El Tri made adjustments and eventually won by a final score of 2-1.
Jose Manuel de la Torre noticed that Guatemala weren't using the center of the pitch at all and he decided to try to take advantage of this, bringing in striker Aldo de Nigris for holding midfielder Israel Castro. This left Gerardo Torrado as the only man in the middle, which is a dangerous move in lots of games. It wasn't in this case, and Torrado did the job by himself just fine.
Just three minutes into the second half, de Nigris scored a goal on a scramble, which has been his M.O. throughout the tournament. He has three goals in the tournament, all of them as a second half substitute when Mexico was in need of a goal.
With a loss no longer a very obvious possibility, Mexico settled down. They started to play loose and create chances, and they would finally find their winner in the middle of the second half. Pablo Barrera played a low cross into Javier Hernandez who scored on a great backheel goal at the near post - video here - putting Mexico ahead 2-1 for good.
Mexico play again on Wednesday, as they take on Honduras in Houston, Texas in the Gold Cup semifinals.
For more on the 2011 Gold Cup (Copa Oro), the Mexico vs. Guatemala match, and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State of Mind.