The Mexican Football Federation have announced that the five Mexico players who were suspended from the country's CONCACAF Gold Cup squad after testing positive for clenbuterol have now returned negative tests for the banned substance.
The FMF announced in a statement on their official website the results of tests on the quintet performed at the laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles, on June 10 were negative.
Antonio Naelson, Christian Bermudez, Edgar Duenas, Francisco Rodriguez and Guillermo Ochoa had initially all tested positive at a pre-tournament training camp and were immediately placed on suspension by Mexico.
Mexico officials have claimed contaminated meat was to blame.
USA and Panama go through
Canada missed out on the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup as USA progressed in second place with a 1-0 win over Guadeloupe in Group C.
Jozy Altidore scored the only goal with a 25-yard piledriver in the ninth minute. In the process, the Americans secured second place in Group C of the Gold Cup, and now they'll face a red-hot Jamaica side in Saturday's first quarter-final at RFK Stadium in Washington.
Other than a shaky early exchange when a Guadeloupe corner fell invitingly in the penalty box, the U.S. was for the most part dominant. The switch of Carlos Bocanegra into the center of defence added much needed stability in the back. The Americans also showed more urgency on offense, using the flanks effectively to create countless opportunities to score.
While Guadeloupe goalkeeper Franck Grandel delivered a string of impressive saves, the U.S. was also guilty of some shocking misses that bordered on the comical, none more so than Clint Dempsey's blown chance in the 76th minute. Presented with a simple tap-in after being set up brilliantly by Alejandro Bedoya, Dempsey's casual attitude allowed an opposition defender to recover and block his shot.
The U.S. will likely trot out the old, "Well, at least we're creating chances" bromide, but that won't fool anyone. Instead, it will only reinforce the perception that something is missing from the U.S. side in this Gold Cup.
Panama cemented top spot after a 1-1 draw against Canada in Kansas City.
Blas Perez equalised in stoppage time for Panama to cancel out Dwayne De Rosario's 62nd-minute penalty.
All that could change though with two or three more victories. The first one will have to come on Sunday against a feisty Jamaican side that took seven points from its Group B counterparts. The Reggae Boyz feel right at home playing in the U.S., since most of their top players already call MLS their home. New York Red Bulls winger Dane Richards , San Jose Earthquakes forward Ryan Johnson , Sporting Kansas City defender Shavar Thomas , and Los Angeles Galaxygoalkeeper Donovan Ricketts are all important parts of the Jamaica roster, and all have made a difference in the Gold Cup this year.
With a win over Jamaica, the U.S. would advance to the Semifinal round and take on the winner of the Panama vs. El Salvador match, which is the second match of this Sunday’s double-header at RFK Stadium. For that win to happen though, the U.S. will need better performances all over the field. Clint Dempsey can’t waste his chances. Tim Ream and Clarence Goodson can’t allow soft goals. Donovan can’t disappear. These guys have all performed fantastically well for their club teams lately. Donovan is leading MLS in goals with eight and Dempsey just completed a dream season at Fulham, scoring 12 goals in 2010-11, which is the most ever by an American in the English Premier League.
This current U.S. National team reminds us nothing of the 2009 team that dropped three goals on Egypt, beat Spain 2-0, and was 20 minutes away from topping Brazil in the Confederations Cup Final. Even though many of the faces are the same, the players don’t have the same killer instinct as we saw back then. Maybe they can find it again though. The Americans have had their backs up against the wall before. This is nothing new to them. They may have to recapture some of that past magic to finish the Gold Cup on a high noteA victory over Jamaica won’t inspire quite the level of celebration that we experienced on June 23, 2010. Another miraculous finish from Donovan won’t guarantee Bradley’s job security for longer than a few more days. But it sure would be a nice start.