The field for the Concacaf Nations League semifinals is set as Mexico advanced past Honduras winning 4-2 in a penalty shootout after their 2-0 victory in regulation leveled the aggregate in the tie. A missed penalty by Andy Najar sealed it but it was a match that had drama from start to finish. El Tri needed a fast start in the match entering behind 2-0 but it took until the 43rd minute for Luis Chavez to open the scoring.
They would keep that trend going as Edson Alvarez scored the goal to force extra time in the 101st minute of play as Mexico were that close to missing the next stage of the Nations League and failing to directly qualify for the Copa America in 2024. Taking 38 shots during the match and putting 11 on target, Mexico dominated from start to finish but still lacked that touch in the final third when it mattered most as Honduras were under duress during most of the match.
Despite how close Mexico were to crashing out, the resilience that was shown during the match is critical. Coach Jamie Lozano has a lot to work on between now and 2024 as this performance won't defeat CONMEBOL teams but at the end of the day, the goal was to qualify for the tournament and that's just what Mexico did. It was similar to the United States who lost to Trinidad & Tobago but still qualified.
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That's more than Canada can say after losing to Jamaica but the Canucks will at least have a second chance at making the Copa America via the playoff round between the four losers from these quarterfinal matches. The Nations League semifinals will take place in March of 2024 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX while Copa America will be held in the U.S. between June 20-July 14, 2024. That provides Mexico with time to figure out who their starting striker will be. They will also need balance in the midfield because more poor performances like the one in the first leg against Honduras will leave El Tri searching for yet another coach before hosting the World Cup alongside the U.S. and Canada in 2026.