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Final preparations as Mexico push for Gold Cup glory

El Tri are the most successful side in the CONCACAF tournament’s history but the USMNT could go level with a win this year.

Paramaribo, Surinam
Suriname vs Mexico: Live
David Leah

The Mexican national team held a final training session in Paramaribo on Wednesday before a crucial Gold Cup fixture against Suriname on Thursday.

The visitors trained at the Franklin Essed Stadium, where they will look to retake top spot in Group A of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Mexico went into the tournament as narrow favourites ahead of the United States and find themselves in a group alongside Suriname and Jamaica. Next Sunday they will host the Jamaicans at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City in their final game of the group stage.

On Wednesday all 22 players selected by Diego Cocca were seen on the synthetic grass of the Franklin Essed Stadium. The artificial playing surface is a recent addition to the venue and it some of the key reasons why the modestly-sized stadium was selected for the game.

This Thursday’s match will be witnessed in person by only 3,500 fans. The stadium boasts just two grandstands at either end of the halfway line, and a wall behind each goal.

Mexico prepares for Gold Cup fixture

Diego Cocca and his coaching staff allowed the media present in Suriname to watch the first 15 minutes of training. The Argentine coach is eager to keep team news close to his chest, but we know that he has one major decision to make when he names his side for Thursday.

Legendary goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa is not in contention to play in the Suriname game after Cocca opted to take a squad featuring only players drawn from Liga MX. The 37-year-old World Cup veteran currently plies his trade in Italy with Seria A side Salernitana and has not made the trip to Paramaribo.

During the open session, fellow goalkeepers Carlos Acevedo and Antonio Rodríguez could be observed loosening up for the first Gold Cup fixture. Such is Ochoa’s longevity for the national side, neither Acevado or Rodríguez have managed more than a handful of international appearances. Thursday could be a big night for whoever is named in goal.

The rest of the squad could only be seen warming up during the period that members of the press were allowed to witness the session. Mexican fans will have been looking out for a glimpse of in-form striker Henry Martin, who is the current top goalscorer in Liga MX.

Martin was in the news in recent days after miming a dog urinating on the pitch after scoring a goal against rivals Chivas in the Clasico Nacional last weekend.