Mexico beats US 1-0 in men’s Olympic soccer qualifying

Guadalajara, Mar 25 (AP): Uriel Antuna scored following a sloppy giveaway by Sebastian Soto in the 45th minute, and Mexico beat the United States 1-0 at Guadalajara in qualifying for the men’s Olympic soccer tournaments.
Both teams already were assured of advancing from Group A to semifinal berths Sunday. The United States finished Group B in second place at 2-1 and will play Honduras, unless Canada beats the Catrachos in Thursday’s finale of Group B.
Mexico, the 2012 Olympic champion, won its 14th straight Olympic qualifier dating to 2008 and finished first in Group A at 3-0.
Semifinal winners from the North and Central American and Caribbean region get the final two places in the 16-nation field for the Olympics, to be played from July 21 to Aug. 7 in Tokyo, Kashima, Miyagi, Saitama, Sapporo and Yokohama.
Antuna, a 23-year-old Chivas winger who spent 2019 on loan to the LA Galaxy from Manchester City, picked up a loose ball about 35 yards from goal that Soto mis-hit a casual backpass following a feed upfield from Henry Kessler.
Antuna took several touches to keep space from Kessler and Maurico Pineda as he cut to the edge of the arc, then beat goalkeeper David Ochoa with a right-footed shot for his second goal of the tournament.
The U.S. men failed to qualify for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, a trend that was followed by the failure of the senior national team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Because of the delay caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, FIFA kept eligibility to players born Jan. 1, 2007, or later. Each Olympic team can use three wild-card players over the age limit.
U.S. coach Jason Kreis made six changes to his starting lineup for the second straight match, giving Kessler at central defense and Soto at forward their first starts and reinserting inserting Ochoa, outside back Andres Herrera, and midfielders Hassani Dotson and Djordje Mihailovic, who started the opening 1-0 win over Costa Rica.
Outside back Julian Araujo, Pineda in central defense, and midfielders Andr s Perea, Johnny Cardoso and Sebastian Saucedo also started the 4-0 victory over the Dominican Republic.

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