For the first time in four years, Mexico stands atop the CONCACAF mountain.
Mexico beat Jamaica 3-1 at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field Sunday night to win its record seventh Gold Cup championship and its first since 2011. Andres Guardado, Jesus Corona and Oribe Peralta scored for El Tri, which will play 2013 Gold Cup champion USA in an October 9 playoff for the region's berth in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. The venue for that match is yet to be determined, but wide speculation points to a meeting at the Rose Bowl, where Mexico beat the USA 4-2 in the 2011 Gold Cup final.
Mexico had been the beneficiary of some controversial, late penalty calls in the Gold Cup knockout stage, but Miguel Herrera's side didn't need luck to get on the board first. Guardado scored his sixth goal of the tournament with an expert left-footed volley to cap a well-designed set piece in the 31st minute. Jonathan Dos Santos picked out Paul Aguilar on the right, and he pinged a cross back toward the left post, where an unmarked Guardado connected on a one-timed effort. It was Guardado's penalty kicks that lifted Mexico to wins in the quarterfinals against Costa Rica and semifinals against Panama.
Mexico delivered a dagger to Jamaica, which was gunning for its first Gold Cup title, moments into the second half through Corona, who laced a low 20-yard shot by Jamaica goalkeeper Ryan Thompson in the 47th minute for the second goal of his budding international career.