Monday, July 1, 2019

Can Raul Jimenez step up for Mexico in final Gold Cup matches?


El Tri's star forward has had ups and downs this tournament, but could leave his mark in the semifinals and finals
 
Raul Jimenez was practically in the box before the referee had finished the coin flip.
When Mexico and Costa Rica finished level after 90 minutes and no one was able to score in extra time, the forward stepped up to take the first penalty kick. He should. Not only is Jimenez a leader on the team and, after his standout season with Wolves in the Premier League, its best attacker, he's nearly a guarantee from the spot. His first-ever penalty miss, in a preseason game with Wolves, made headlines all over Mexico as an oddity.
He may stop taking them at NRG Stadium, though. After going one for two against Uruguay in a September 2018 friendly at the home of the Houston Texans, he led off the shootout with a miss Saturday. His effort was low and near the middle, hitting the diving Costa Rican goalkeeper Leonel Moreira. Jimenez's teammates, like goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, picked up the slack as El Tri won the shootout 5-4 and moved into the Gold Cup semifinal against Haiti.

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