Fernando Llano/Associated Press
Mexico defeated the United States, 1-0, in an under-23 matchup in the 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship on Wednesday.
Uriel Antuna’s goal helped capture Group A for El Tri, though both Mexico and the U.S. advanced to the knockout stage ahead of Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
The Americans will face likely Group B winner Honduras in the knockout round and can lock up an Olympic bid with a victory.
Mexico, meanwhile, would face Group B runner-up Canada with the same stakes on the line.
Despite holding possession for 54 percent of the match and committing 18 fouls to Mexico’s 22, the U.S. couldn’t put enough pressure on the net of Luis Malagon, who needed just one save to preserve the shutout as six other U.S. attempts were off target.
Antuna’s game-winner came just before halftime and proved enough for Mexico to claim a victory in Group A.
With a perfect 3-0 record and a plus-seven goal differential entering play at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico, the hosts just needed to avoid getting blown out to emerge victorious in pool play. Their defensive effort did more than that; it completely stymied an American offense that had scored five goals in its first three contests.
A rematch with Mexico could be on the docket in the final should both teams win their semifinal matchups.
The United States will get its turn on that stage first, facing the Group B winner on Sunday at Jalisco Stadium.