Mexico edges Jamaica 1-0 in Copa America group-stage opener

Gerardo Arteaga's second-half screamer helped El Tri start strong.

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Two things can be true: Mexico still isn't convincing yet and Jamaica is rising.

Mexico on Saturday edged Jamaica 1-0 in their 2024 Copa America group-stage opener in Houston, Texas, with left-back Gerardo Arteaga managing the lone goal from distance.

The key news prior to kickoff was that both teams would be without their star goalies. Guillermo Ochoa was not selected to the squad while Andre Blake missed out due to a knee injury.

Instead, Julio Gonzalez and Jahmali Waite stepped up between the sticks and did well, with both teams coming close to scoring on numerous occasions.

The first half started off fast but didn't produce a goal for either side. The main talking point was Mexican defensive midfielder Edson Alvarez going down with a non-contact left hamstring injury around the half-hour mark.

If he cannot return for the tournament, the already-struggling Mexico side will be without its best midfielder no matter how far it progresses.

Then came the first few minutes of the second half when Jamaica threatened on a few moments, especially five minutes in when Michail Antonio pounced on a back-post header. However, it was rightfully ruled offside.

Luis Chavez five minutes later had another key opportunity just like he did in the first few minutes of the first half, but couldn't find the opener.

Instead, the lone goal of the game came from an unlikely source in the 69th minute. Mexican left-back Gerardo Arteaga picked the right time to score his second international goal, smashing one home from just inside the box off a pass from substitute Luis Romo, who had replaced Alvarez.

Jamaica had some chances to potentially net the equalizer, but it became tougher without Antonio, its best No. 9, while the substitutes from manager Heimer Hallgrimsson of Iceland drew criticism.

In the end, Mexico statistically deserved the result, generating an exact 1.00 xG to 0.51 for Jamaica, via FotMob.

El Tri had better possession, shots, shots on target, big chances and pass accuracy than Jamaica, who mainly looked to attack in transition. But not having star right winger Leon Bailey will make it difficult throughout the tournament.

Mexico will next play Venezuela on Wednesday, June 26 for its second group-stage game. Venezuela topped Ecuador in its opener, so it'll be a fight for first place ahead of the third and final group match.

Jamaica will play Ecuador, also on that Wednesday.

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