As the quarterfinals of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup progress, we'll get to see a matchup between two of the best teams in this event. We knew it was bound to happen at some point, we just didn't know when. But now we know that both Mexico (Group A winner) and Costa Rica (second in Group B) will have to go through one another in order to reach the semifinals. Two of Latin America's best will take on one another in a game that will go a long way in deciding the winner of this year's Gold Cup trophy.
Mexico vs. Costa Rica
When: Saturday, June 29 at 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: NRG Stadium (Houston)
TV: FS1 and Univision
Three Things to Watch
1. Mexico is still at the top of their game
"El Tri" easily swept through Group A opponents Canada, Martinique, and Cuba as they offered little to no resistance. Mexico scored 13 goals during the group stage while only giving up three. They have been fundamentally sound on both sides of the ball, and they'll get their toughest competition thus far in Costa Rica. Neither team is intimidated heading into this contest.
2. Costa Rica hopes to rebound into the quarterfinals
After defeating both Nicaragua and Bermuda by a combined score of 6-1, Costa Rica was the victim of the biggest upset in this tournament when Haiti surprised them by the final score of 2-1 to win Group B. Perhaps they underestimated the Haitians, but Haiti's defense held up when it counted the most. How that affects Costa Rica moving forward remains to be seen, but this is still a formidable opponent for Mexico. This will be the 54th meeting between these two soccer powers with Mexico holding a 30-6-17 advantage.
3. What's at stake for both teams
For Mexico it's simple: Costa Rica represents a roadblock on the path to a record eighth Gold Cup title. Costa Rica, on the other hand, is looking for a second straight semifinal appearance (third overall) in hopes of claiming its first Gold Cup trophy in team history. Plus the Costa Ricans want to break their losing streak to Mexico, which currently stands at three games.
We're all curious to see how Costa Rica responds to the loss to Haiti, and this will be an entertaining game between two of soccer's best. But in the end, Mexico pulls through as their momentum will be very difficult to stop.
Prediction: Mexico 4, Costa Rica 3
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.