CONCACAF: Mexico loses Edson Alvarez, still tops Jamaica 1-0

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Mexico overcame an early injury to captain Edson Alvarez to defeat Jamaica 1-0 to open their Group B play in Houston on Saturday.

The West Ham midfielder and one the most experienced players on the Mexican team was sprinting in pursuit of a Jamaica counter when he grabbed his leg and immediately went to the turf in the 27th minute.

He was helped off the field and replaced in the 30th minute by Luis Romo.

“We’re going to wait a few days to do some testing on him and to know well what he’s got going on,” Mexico coach Jaime Lozano said after the match. “He’s extremely important. He’s a leader, he understands the game well. He’s important on the pitch and in the locker room as well.

“You listen to him talk, he has a way with words and when he speaks you listen. This was a tough blow for all of us.”

Gerardo Arteaga scored in the 69th minute to quell the upset bid with a wicked strike from the top of the box to the right netting for his second international goal.

Mexico is making its 11th appearance in Copa America, reaching the final in 1993 and 2001.

Each team used inexperienced goalkeepers. Julio Gonzalez made his third start for Mexico after veteran Guillermo Ochoa was cut and Luis Malagon was injured recently.

Gonzalez made four saves.

Jahmali Waite got the nod for Jamaica because Andre Blake, a three-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year for the Philadelphia Union, was injured prior to the tournament. Waite made eight saves.

He was tested in the fourth minute but was steady in making a save on a Luis Chavez shot from the middle of the box.

Jamaica, who had lost all six previous Copa America matches without scoring, thought it had a historic goal in the 50th minute to take the lead when
Michail Antonio, a West Ham teammate of Alvarez, shocked the Mexicans with a diving header after a service by Dexter Lembikisa.

However, video review showed Antonio was offside and that was the wakeup call Mexico needed.

Luis Sanchez in the 57th minute ripped a low shot that was deflected but Waite managed to push the attempt away but the momentum stayed with the Mexicans.

On Wednesday, Jamaica plays Ecuador in Las Vegas while Mexico faces Venezuela in Inglewood, Calif.

–Field Level Media

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