DENVER, CO - JUNE 01: Giovani Dos Santos #10 of Mexico celebrates his second goal of the game with Pablo Barrera #7 in the 30th minute against New Zealand at INVESCO Field at Mile High on June 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Mexico Vs. Cuba, Gold Cup (Copa Oro) 2011, Group A: Giovani Dos Santos, Javier Hernandez Score Two Goals Each; El Tri Wins 5-0

Mexico got off to a slow start against Cuba, but the flood gates opened once they scored, as El Tri coasted to an emphatic 5-0 win to go top of Group A.

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Mexico Vs. Cuba, Gold Cup (Copa Oro) 2011: Final Score, El Tri Wins 5-0 As Giovani Dos Santos, 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez Shine

Despite the doping scandal that sent five of their players home, Mexico has done exactly what was expected of them tonight, defeating Cuba by a score of 5-0 as they put on an absolute clinic in the second half. They were a bit shaky to start the game, but 'Chicharito Javier Hernandez scored near the end of the second half, settling the team down and getting them int a rhythm, just like the El Salvador match. The floodgates opened in the second half as they absolutely assaulted the Cuba goal, and they now lead Group A in Gold Cup following Costa Rica's draw earlier this evening.

Both Chicharito and Giovani dos Santos scored a brace, with substitute striker Aldo de Nigris providing the other goal. Angel Reyna and Pablo Barrera, though they did not score, did plenty to contribute to Mexico's attack as well, as they looked downright lethal for the final 60 minutes of the match.

Two straight slow starts will be a mild area of concern for Jose Manuel de la Torre going into his team's game against Costa Rica, a much better team than their first two opponents, but he will be comforted by the knowledge that his team is absolutely unstoppable once they take a lead.

Both Mexico and Costa Rica control their own destiny on Sunday, as either team can win the group if they take all three points from the match. Mexico will learn tomorrow whether or not they will be allowed to call in replacements for their banned players, and therefore, fill out a complete bench.

For more information on the Mexico Vs. Cuba game, 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. Cuba, Gold Cup (Copa Oro) 2011: Giovano Dos Santos, Aldo De Nigris Have Mexico 4-0 Up

Since the first goal of the game, scored by 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez, Mexico have absolutely assaulted the Cuba goal. They're creating a good deal of shots with their passing and creativity. They have been largely unlucky, with Cuba's keeper making a number of good saves and Chicharito barely missing on a good header, but the floodgates have finally opened. Giovani dos Santos and substitute striker Aldo de Nigris have scored three second half goals between them in quick succession, putting Mexico 4-0 up in their Gold Cup Group A match.

The first goal was created by some fantastic movement and passing between dos Santos and Pablo Barrera, who has been brilliant as usual. The second came on a header on a three-on-one counter attack, and the third was a simple low shot from Gio, completing his brace. The floodgates are completely open now, and it should have been 5-0. Less than two minutes after Giovani's second, Chicharito missed an absolute sitter. With 20 minutes remaining in the game, Mexico have a commanding lead on Cuba.

For more information on the Mexico Vs. Cuba game, 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. Cuba, Gold Cup (Copa Oro) 2011: Halftime, El Tri Lead 1-0 Through 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez Goal

It hasn't been the greatest game so far for Mexico, but they have the monkey off their back early, thanks to a goal from 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez. They started their Gold Cup match against Cuba with a lot of ill-advised long shots, but since Hernandez scored they have calmed down and created chances, and they're unlucky to only be up by one goal. They look like they're coming into their game, and it would be surprising if they didn't score a couple more times before the end of the game.

Andres Guardado created the goal with a cross from the left flank, and that cross met the head of a poorly marked Chicharito. He now has 18 goals for Mexico, and he's been magic almost every time he's put on an El Tri shirt in the year 2011.

Mexico are shorthanded on the bench due to having five players sent home for failed drug tests, but expect to see Jesus Zavala and Aldo de Nigris in the second half, just like the El Salvador game. The two Monterrey players appear to be the first choice bench options for Jose Manuel de la Torre, and they should bring El Tri some fresh legs in the second half.

For more information on the Mexico Vs. Cuba game, 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. Cuba, Gold Cup (Copa Oro) 2011: 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez Scores Opening Goal

Mexico didn't look spectacular in the beginning of their Gold Cup match against Cuba, firing a number of poor long distance shots, but they finally have 1-0 first half lead, to the surprise of no one. Also to the surprise of no one, the man who scored the goal was 'Chicharito,' Javier Hernandez. He's in absolutely incredible form for Mexico at the moment, and against a weak team like Cuba, he's probably not done scoring.

The goal came on a cross from Andres Guardado, and Chicharito did well to rise above the defense and head the ball into the back of the net. It's a deserved lead for Mexico, who despite their poor shot selection, have absolutely been the better team. It would not be surprising to see them manage to nick another goal before halftime rolls around.

For more information on the Mexico Vs. Cuba game, 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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Costa Rica Vs. El Salvador Final Score, Gold Cup 2011: Ticos Snatch Late Draw

At the end of tonight's Gold Cup match, Costa Rica celebrated as if they had just won a major tournament. Instead, they had simply scored a stoppage time equalizer against a team that they outmatch on pure talent. So much so, they decided to rest their best player, Bryan Ruiz. He only came into the game when the Ticos fell behind, but failed to make a major impact. Still, his team were able to find an equalizer against El Salvador to save face, finishing the game with a draw, the final score being 1-1.

In first half stoppage time, Rodolfo Zelaya scored on an absolutely spectacular 25 yard free kick, giving El Salvador a shock 1-0 lead. Costa Rica weren't dominant in the first half, but they certainly were the much better team, as Alvaro Saborio in particular had a couple of great chances.

Ruiz entered at halftime, but he didn't look quite like his normal self. It appeared that Costa Rica were going to walk away with an embarrassing loss, but another substitute saved face. Randall Brenes, an attacking midfielder, was the man who scored the equalizer, and the team celebrated wildly.

Costa Rica will be disappointed, but they still control their own destiny heading into the final Group A game. No matter what happens in tonight's late game, Costa Rica will go through in first place with a victory over Mexico.

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

Following the doping scandal that sent five players home, along with Ricardo Osorio's injury, Mexico only have 17 players available tonight. None of those players is a central midfielder, but that hasn't stopped Jose Manuel de la Torre from benching a couple of them anyway. He's showing Cuba absolutely no respect, starting only one central midfielder - Gerardo Torrado - and two strikers. Here are the starting lineups for tonight's Gold Cup matchup.

Mexico lineup (4-1-3-2): Talavera; Salcido, Moreno, Marquez (C), Juarez; Torrado; Guardado, Dos Santos, Barrera; Reyna, Chicharito.

Cuba lineup: Molina, Dranguet, Fernandez, Marquez, Joel Colome, Francisco, Hernandez, Jaine Colome (C), Cervantes, Gomez, Linares.

Many thought that Javier Hernandez would rest ahead of the Costa Rica match, but Chicharito is in the starting lineup. Giovani dos Santos might have been set to rest, but the expulsion of Sinha and Christian Bermudez from the team meant there were no other options. Angel Reyna is a surprise starter, as most people expected Jesus Zavala to start in midfield as Mexico kept the same formation.

For more information on the Mexico Vs. Cuba game, 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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Costa Rica Vs. El Salvador, Gold Cup 2011: Cuscatlecos Hold Shock Halftime Lead

After 45 minutes of play in Charlotte, El Salvador hold a stunning halftime lead over favorites Costa Rica in their 2011 Gold Cup, Group A matchup. Costa Rica have been the better side for the majority of the half, but an absolutely stunning free kick goal by Rodolfo Zelaya has the Cuscatlecos ahead of the Ticos, 1-0 at halftime.

Alvaro Saborio of Costa Rica has been the most dangerous man on the pitch for the Ticos, and it's surprising that he has neither scored, nor set up a goal. He's won a couple of free kicks in dangerous areas, he had a shot brilliantly saved by Miguel Montes in the 3rd minute, and he had an open header go just wide of the post in the 20th minute of the match.

Zelaya scored the go-ahead goal just minutes before the stroke of halftime, hitting a stunning free kick from 25 yards out into the roof of the goal, giving Keylor Navas little chance of making a save.

Down 1-0 with a game against Mexico looming, Costa Rica will probably now feel compelled to bring their superstar striker Bryan Ruiz off the bench for the second half. The FC Twente player was carrying a slight knock coming into the tournament and was being rested before the Mexico match as a precaution, but he will probably make an appearance now that this game has been shown to be anything but a cakewalk.

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Mexico Vs. Cuba, Gold Cup (Copa Oro) 2011: TV Schedule, Game Time, And Costa Rica Vs. El Salvador Info

Mexico will have to play against Cuba tonight with 17 players, thanks to their recent doping scandal, but they will have to wait to get out onto the field and turn the story back to actual football. Costa Rica and El Salvador kick off tonight's Group A action in the Gold Cup (Copa Oro), and Bryan Ruiz will once again be rested for the Ticos. Both games can be seen on television in the United States and Canada. Here's the complete game information and television schedule

Costa Rica vs. El Salvador - 7 pm ET

Mexico vs. Cuba - 9 pm ET

Venue - Bank Of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC

Television Schedule

Costa Rica vs. El Salvador

Canada: Setanta Sports Canada

United States: Telefutura

Mexico vs. Cuba

Canada: Setanta Sports Canada

United States: Univision

Both Costa Rica and Mexico won their opening games. They will meet on Sunday, presumably to determine the winner of Group A.

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

Costa Rica once again opt to leave ace striker Bryan Ruiz on the bench when faced with a far weaker opponent in El Salvador. El Salvador were demolished by Mexico during an astonishing second half in the their first game of the tournament, ultimately losing 5-0, and Costa Rica will go expecting to secure a similar result against the minnows.

They would do well, however, not to underestimate the threat that El Salvador posses - they did keep Mexico at bay for long periods of the match and unlike Mexico it's not clear whether Costa Rcica have another gear to go into should their opponents prove trickier than expected. Losing (or possibly even drawing) here isn't an option, so expect an open, exciting match.

Costa Rica: Keylor Navas, Junior Diaz, Heiner Mora, Dennis Marshall, Jhonny Acosta, Jose Salvatierra, Celso Borgas, Allen Guevara, Christian Bolanos, Alvaro Saborio, Marco Urena.

El Salvador: Miguel Montes, Luis Anaya, Victor Turcios, Xavier Garcia, Reynaldo Hernandez, Dennis Alas, Gilberto Baires, Andres Flores, Jaime Alas, Rodolfo Zalaya, Rudis Corrales

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

On Sunday, Mexico dropped five goals on El Salvador to take a joint lead atop Group A in the 2011 Gold Cup (Copa Oro). On Thursday, they face an arguably much easier opponent in Cuba. Benching their starters tonight is a no brainer, right? Not so fast.

While Mexico were able to find another gear and absolutely obliterate El Salvador in the second half of their game, the first half was just as bad as the second half was good. This Mexican team appeared to be one that had a fair bit of chemistry and understanding in their friendly matches leading up to the Gold Cup, but they looked like a team of 11 strangers in the opening 45 minutes of their Gold Cup campaign. 

It's possible that it was a total outlier performance and that Jose Manuel 'Chepo' de la Torre now has his team focused, but it's also possible that they don't have enough time together as a squad to play a game with great fluidity and understanding against a team like Costa Rica or the United States

More than likely, Mexico will opt for a mixed squad with some first team players and some bench players. After a long season with Manchester United, it would not be surprising to see Javier Hernandez benched in favor of Aldo de Nigris. Chicharito is Mexico's icon, superstar, and most importantly, their best striker. Having him tired or injured for the Costa Rica match would be a downright disaster. Israel Castro also played a long season for Pumas, and looked poor against El Salvador. It wouldn't be surprising to see Jesus Zavala get a look, as he was very good in his substitute appearance on Sunday.

First team or not, Mexico should beat Cuba. If they fail to, it would be...probably the biggest upset in the history of this competition.

Costa Rica Vs. El Salvador

Would the Ticos rest Bryan Ruiz in two straight games? After El Salvador's performance against Mexico, quite possibly. With a big game against Mexico just four days away, it wouldn't be a terrible idea. More than likely, he'll get somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes as the Ticos absolutely roll over El Salvador. This should give both Costa Rica and Mexico six points, setting up a fantastic finale.

For more information on the Mexico Vs. Cuba game, 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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