Mexico beats Jamaica 1-0 in Copa America opener on Gerardo Arteaga's 69th-minute goal


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HOUSTON — Gerardo Arteaga scored from the edge of the penalty area in the 69th minute and Mexico beat Jamaica 1-0 on Saturday night in its Copa America opener.

Competing as a guest in South America's championship for the 11th time, Mexico dominated the match and scored on its 17th shot.

Joel Latibeaudiere's weak headed clearance went to Luis Romo, who controlled the ball off a thigh and passed to Arteaga. His left-foot shot beat goalkeeper Jahmali Waite and went inside the far post for his second goal in 25 international appearances.

"The idea was to empower some players who were called before but didn't have the minutes to shine," Mexico coach Jaime Lozano said through an interpreter. "Today was Arteaga's turn, but we have a set of other players who are adding minutes at the top level. That's what we had in mind when we made the roster."

Michail Antonio appeared to put Jamaica ahead with a short-range header in the 50th minute but the goal was disallowed for offside following a video review.

"A fraction offside," Jamaica coach Heimir Hallgrímsson said. "I've seen it again, and it was correct."

Mexico captain Edson Álvarez left in the 30th minute following a left hamstring injury and was replaced by Romo.

"Regarding Edson, we are going to wait," Lozano said. "He's going to see what he has and take some images. We don't want to risk it. He felt something in his leg."

Lozano said it was going to be a couple days before they would know the severity of the injury.

"I think it has been our motto for this summer – together and unity," Lozano said. "It's not easy to overcome your captain being removed from the field, but I felt they responded fast. We suffered a bit more than we needed to suffer."

Lozano said the turf did not play a factor in the game.

Venezuela beat Ecuador 2-1 in the other Group B match. Mexico plays Venezuela at Inglewood, California, on Wednesday, when Jamaica faces Ecuador at Las Vegas. The group finishes on June 30, when Mexico plays Ecuador at Glendale, Arizona, and Jamaica faces Venezuela at Austin, Texas.

El Tri reached the semifinals in 1997, 1999 and 2007. The Reggae Boyz are 0-7 in the tournament following group-stage elimination in 2015 and 2016.

"We fought until the end," Hallgrímsson said. "I'm proud of the players. We gave them a tough match, and in the end, I was hoping, and I thought we deserved to score one, get something out of this game. … Overall, quite happy with how the game played out. Of course, unhappy with losing."

Before a crowd of 53,763 at NRG Stadium, Mexico wore red, green and black jerseys patterned after folk art.

El Tri has not lost to Jamaica since a 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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