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Mexico vs. Cuba, Gold Cup 2015: Time, TV schedule and team news

El Tri's first game should be a pretty easy win.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Mexico didn't look like future Gold Cup winners in their warm-up friendlies against Costa Rica and Honduras, but they've got plenty of time to figure out their best team. They've been drawn into the competition's easiest group, and should advance in first place even if they play poorly in all three of their group stage games. First up is Cuba on Thursday.

At some point, a massive chunk of this Cuba team will sneak out of their hotel and defect to the United States, as usual, but that usually happens ahead of the final group stage game. Mexico's getting them now, when they're at full strength. Not that anyone knows what that means -- these players all play in Cuba.

In 2013, Cuba actually sneaked through to the quarterfinals, thanks to a draw that put them into a group with Belize. They'll have a chance to do that again -- Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago aren't great -- but they are favorites to finish at the bottom of this group.

Mexico are without Javier Hernandez and Hector Moreno, who picked up injuries prior to this tournament. In Moreno's absence, El Tri are expected to play in a 4-4-2 formation.

Key player: Hector Herrera

Carlos Esquivel was Mexico's only attacking player to provide any kind of spark against Honduras, so of course he won't be playing. Mexico have already announced their starting XI, and it looks like Herrera will be playing out of position on the right wing. Why you'd play your best player out of position against a team that you should beat comfortably is anyone's guess. It might be a good move to help in midfield and keep the ball against the United States, but against Cuba? It's a curious decision. Herrera will need to vindicate it by providing some width in attack.

Match date/time: Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. local

Venue: Soldier Field, Chicago

TV: Fox Sports 1 (U.S. -- English), Univision Deportes (U.S. -- Spanish), Sportsnet World (Canada), BT Sport 2 (U.K.), Canal 5 Televisa, Azteca 7 (Mexico)

Online: Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2 Go (U.S. -- English), Univision Deportes en vivo (U.S. -- Spanish), Sportsnet World Now (Canada), BT Sport (U.K.)

Listings via Live Soccer TV.


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