Mexico plays its final match before the CONCACAF tournament begins.

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The Mexican national soccer team is already looking ahead to a repeat title in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and the team plans to use its friendly in Seattle as a steppingstone toward that goal.

Mexico will face Paraguay at CenturyLink Field on Saturday, its last game before the team heads to the 2017 Gold Cup, the regional championship of North America, Central America and the Caribbean that takes place every two years. As the defending Gold Cup champions, Mexico will begin its run for a second consecutive title July 9 in San Diego against El Salvador.

“We’re here to be prepared for Gold Cup and take a look at what we can do better from the previous game,” striker Alan Pulido said through an interpreter. “We’re going to keep working and just focus on this tournament and try to correct little mistakes.”


Mexico vs. Paraguay friendly at CenturyLink Field, 5:30 p.m., FS1

In Saturday’s game, Mexico will be playing with a B team of sorts since its top players are in Russia at the Confederations Cup.

On Thursday, Mexico lost to Germany in the semifinal, and on Sunday, Mexico and Portugal will face each other in the third-place match of the Confederations Cup.

The Confederations Cup loss doesn’t change the importance of Mexico’s upcoming CONCACAF tournament, said Luis Pompilio Paez, Mexico’s assistant coach, who is with the team in Seattle. The goal to win the Gold Cup has been clear since well before the national team fell short of the Confederations Cup final.

“There’s always going to be pressure, always from the beginning,” Pompilio Paez said through an interpreter. “Since we got the objective of (winning) the Confederations Cup, there’s always pressure. We wanted to be champions. … Before the Confederations Cup, we already had talked about Mexico being No. 1 in CONCACAF.”

On Wednesday, the Mexico team that will be playing in Seattle defeated Ghana 1-0 in a friendly in Houston as Elias Hernandez scored Mexico’s lone goal. However, Ghana finished the game with 21 shots, compared to Mexico’s eight. Mexico’s goalkeepers — first Moises Munoz and then Jose Corona after Munoz left the game with an injury — needed nine saves to keep Ghana scoreless.

Pompilio Paez pointed toward improvement from the defense as one of the areas Mexico is prioritizing heading into Saturday’s friendly, where the team will face what Pompilio Paez calls a “very technical” Paraguay squad.

“We try to make sure that we can have a good defensive line and that we can finish the game,” Paez said. “We have to prepare. … There are times when we need to defend, we need to be more practiced.”

But, in a way, that’s the purpose of Saturday’s match — pinpointing and correcting these types of mistakes in order to be in a favorable position heading into the Gold Cup.

“We want to be crowned champions (of the Gold Cup) and that’s clear,” Pulido said. “We’re going to keep working hard the last few days that we have before we start the tournament, so we start on the right foot.”