Mexico have made steady progress in this Gold Cup, although that was more a matter of inevitability than true improvement. After a horrendous showing in their opener, a loss to Panama, they could only do better in their next match and they were, albeit just slightly. In their group stage finale, they looked somewhat competent, thriving when afforded space in the attack, but a complete disaster at the back.
Now Mexico have to continue to improve, but quicker than they have been. Trinidad and Tobago are playing pretty well and Kenwyne Jones, for all his trouble finishing in this tournament, has physically manhandled every defender he has come up against thus far. If El Tri's defense doesn't improve, it won't matter what Marco Fabian and Co. do going forward. That means Joel Huiqui and Juan Carlos Valenzuela, both of whom have struggled, need to turn in their best match of the tournament and Alejandro Castro has to provide the shield for the backline that Mexico has lacked thus far.
The two sides are in the knockout stages now and a loss eliminates them. For Trinidad and Tobago, who missed the Hex, it would mark the end of competitive matches until they attempt to qualify for the 2015 Gold Cup. For Mexico, it could mean the end of the Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre era.
Mexico: Jonathan Orozco, Adrian Albrete, Joel Huiqui, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Miguel Layun, Marco Fabian, Alejandro Castro, Carlos Pena, Luis Montes, Raul Jimenez, Rafael Marquez Lugo.
Trinidad and Tobago: Jan-Michael Williams, Aubrey David, Daneil Cyrus, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Carlos Edwards, Andre Boucaud, Daniel, Seon Power, Daryl Roberts, Kenwyne Jones, Cornell Glen.