Mexico vs. Panama, 2013 Gold Cup: Preview and TV schedule

USA TODAY Sports

Since Mexico and Panama met in the group stage, El Tri have slowly improved, but they haven't impressed enough to think that Panama won't present a serious challenge.

Mexico and their fans will expect an El Tri win on Wednesday, simply because of their talent and their history in Gold Cup, but there isn't much evidence to suggest that Mexico are significantly better than they were when they lost their first game of the tournament. Panama was the better side in that game and will like their chances to pull another upset and advance to the final.

Gabriel Torres, who has been one of the best players in this tournament and Panama's most consistent attacking threat, scored both of the Canaleros' goals in their 2-1 win over Mexico back on July 7. They were less than impressive in their other two group stage matches, but they may have been holding something back with progression to the knockout stage virtually guaranteed after that win. They turned things up a bit in their quarterfinal, beating Cuba 6-1.

Mexico were poor throughout their quarterfinal match against Trinidad and Tobago, but the Soca Warriors didn't have the quality to put El Tri under serious threat. In the 84th minute, budding star forward Raul Jimenez turned in a free kick to send his side through and set up a rematch with Panama.

'Chepo' Jose Manuel de la Torre probably thought that he had his lineup for this tournament set, but will almost certainly be tempted to make some changes after his team's lackluster performance against T&T. Marco Fabian, Raul Jimenez and the Mexico defense have performed well, but Chepo has to figure out how to get more out of his midfield. Carlos Peña and Luis Montes, who were both subbed against T&T, have struggled in Gold Cup.

Match date/time: Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET

Venue: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas

TV: FOX Soccer (U.S. - English), Univision Deportes (U.S. - Spanish), Sportsnet World (Canada), ESPN (U.K.)

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