Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido made his 18th career appearance for the Mexico Men's National Team on Sunday night, entering in the 74th minute as El Tri prevailed 1-0 over El Salvador to finish atop Group A of the Concacaf Gold Cup.
Playing before a raucous capacity crowd at Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Mexico broke through in the 26th minute on a goal from defender Luis Hernandez and collected their sixth consecutive clean sheet to leapfrog El Salvador for top spot in Group A and book a Gold Cup quarterfinal date at 9 p.m. CT on Saturday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Pulido and Mexico will meet the Group D runners-up in the quarterfinals, a fixture that will be determined Tuesday when Honduras, Qatar and Panama jockey for position in their respective group stage finales. The contest will be shown live in English on FS1 and the FOX Sports app and in Spanish on Univision, TUDN and the TUDN app.
Pulido nearly doubled Mexico's lead in second-half stoppage time with a thumping right-footed strike from long range that El Salvador goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez did well to cast aside at full extension.
The 30-year-old Pulido missed Mexico's Gold Cup opener on July 10, a scoreless draw versus Trinidad and Tobago, due to a foot injury and landed his tournament debut as a second-half substitute in Wednesday's 3-0 win against Guatemala.
The Gold Cup quarterfinals are scheduled for July 24-25, followed by the semifinals on July 29 and the final on Aug. 1 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Held every two years, the Gold Cup is the regional championship for Concacaf and just like in the European Championships and Copa America, lifting the trophy brings prestige and regional supremacy. Over the course of 15 previous Gold Cup tournaments, Mexico has lifted the trophy a record eight times (1993, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2019), just ahead of the United States' six (1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2017). Canada is the only other tournament champion, coming away with the title in 2000.