Uruguay (FIFA Rank 9) v Venezuela (77)
Uruguay face a must win match after losing their opener to Mexico 3-1. Uruguay are the most successful nation in Copa America with 15 winner's trophies including as recently as 2011 but they will again be without Luis Suarez today. This is Óscar Tabárez's 10th year in charge of Uruguay and he typically provides a calming influence for a team that sometimes surfs right on the edge of emotions going from productive to destructive, Uruguay were particularly demonstrative in their protests of referee calls in the Mexico game and might have been lucky to finish with 10 men.
Venezuela earned 1-0 win over Jamaica in their opener. The Reggae Boyz went down a man early when Rodolph Austin earned a 23rd minute red card. Despite the man advantage, Venezuela looked fortunate to get the win. Jamaica had the better chances in the second half and by the end of the match Venezuela were just bunkering for the win. They will need a better effort over 90 minutes if they hope to get a result and put themselves in great position for a surprise appearance in the quarterfinals.
Mexico (16) v Jamaica (46)
Mexico saved the opening weekend of Copa America matches by playing a scintillating match against Uruguay in their opener after what was a, politely speaking, cautious opening batch of games in the tournament. Timeless wonder Rafa Marquez scored the game winner in the 85th minute en route to a 3-1 Mexico win that finished 10 v 10.
Jamaica were unfortunate to lose their opener to Venezuela. They had the better chances but going down a man in the 23rd minute was too much to overcome. Jamaican Captain Wes Morgan did not start the match, head coach Winfried Schafer said Morgan was not fit to start after partying too much following his captaining Leicester City to their improbable Premier League title. Morgan did enter the match in the 40th minute as an injury substitute. Expect Morgan to get the start today and make life tough for Mexico's central midfield to find Chicharito or Oribe Peralta in attack.
This game is a rematch from the 2015 Gold Cup Final won by Mexico 3-1. Mexico struggled most of the Gold Cup to find an attaching rhythm and were fortunate with referee decisions in both the quarterfinal and semi-final to even make the final. But once the lights went on, it was apparent that Mexico had brought their A game to the final and they easily dispatched a Jamaica squad that was riding high after beating the host USMNT in their semi-final. Mexico then went on to win the Confederations Cup playoff with the USA and has been perfect in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying while Jamaica has only four points from four played in World Cup Qualifiers and is in danger of not advancing to the hex.
This match is being played in the Rose Bowl, typically a home away from home for big matches by the Mexico National Team. This will be the third and final match for Copa America in the Rose Bowl, curiously the organizing committee did not choose to host knockout rounds at the historic venue. Brazil v Ecuador played in front of 53,158 fans on Saturday while Colombia v Paraguay saw 42,766 through the turnstiles on Tuesday. Look for Mexico to draw closer to the Rose Bowl's 92,542 capacity. As a reference, the Concacaf Cup match between Mexico and the USA on October 10th of last year had an official attendance of 93,723.
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