CARSON, Calif. – Marco Fabian scored three goals to lead Mexico over Trinidad and Tobago 7-1 Friday night in Olympic qualifying for North and Central America and the Caribbean.
The Chivas midfielder scored one goal in the first half and two in the second as Mexico dominated the tiny Caribbean nation from start to finish in the opener of Group B play for both teams. Alan Pulido, Diego Reyes, Israel Jimenez and Javier Cortes also scored for Mexico.
Goalkeeper Liborio Sanchez's bid for a shutout was ended in the 87th minute when Trinidad's Kevin Molino, a midfielder for Orlando City in the third-tier United Soccer Leagues Professional Division, scored from close range.
With a squad composed almost entirely of starters in the Mexican first division, El Tri is considered a tournament favorite along with the United States, which defeated Cuba, 6-0 on Thursday in Nashville, Tenn. The two semifinal winners qualify for the London Olympics.
Mexico faces Honduras on Sunday against Honduras, and Trinidad plays Panama. Mexico took the group lead in goal differencel, ahead of Honduras, which beat Panama 3-1 earlier Friday. The top two teams from Group B will advance to face the top two from Group A in the semifinals on March 31 at Kansas City, Kan.
Early on, timely goalkeeping by Andre Marchan and stingy defense by the Soca Warriors' back four kept the match scoreless. However, in the 29th minute, a corner kick by David Cabrera deflected off the head of Reyes before being saved by Marchan, Pulido knocked in the rebound from close range.
Four minutes later, Sacramento, Calif.-born midfielder Miguel Angel Ponce fired a cross down the left flank to Fabian, his Chivas teammate, who doubled Mexico's lead with a header past Marchan.
As the half wore on, Trinidad had several opportunities to get on the board, but Liborio Sanchez preserved the shutout with a pair of timely saves. In the 51st minute, a free kick from Cabrera was saved by Marchan, but the rebound fell to Mexico captain Hiram Mier, who sent the rebound to Reyes for the third goal.
Mexico made it 4-0 in the 69th minute as a well-placed pass from Cortes found Fabian waiting inside the penalty area and he sent a shot past Marchan. Jimenez followed with a score on a free kick from 30 yards out six minutes later, and Fabian completed his hat trick in the 85th minute on a rebound.
After Trinidad scored, Cortes got a goal one minute into stoppage time.
There was a distinctly American presence on Trinidad as four members of the Soca Warriors' 20-man roster currently play in the United States.